Qatar Airways announces its new sports partnership with the name Official Aviation Partner From rugby competitions United Rugby Championship (URC) e Official South African Air Partner DelEuropean Rugby Club for Professionals. The Qatar-based company, known for its support of sports globally, has entered into multi-year agreements with major competitions in which major rugby clubs participate, in recognition of the growth and passion that fans of the sport have shown in the key travel markets of Western Europe and South Africa.
URC is one of the three largest professional rugby leagues in Europe, featuring teams from Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Wales and now South Africa. The most successful teams from each league also participate in Heineken Champions Cup and for EPCR Challenge Cup Against the national teams of England and France. For the first time in history, both competitions organized by EPCR will feature South African teams.
His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, Group CEO of Qatar Airways, said:: “At Qatar Airways, we bring the world and communities together – through travel, of course, but also through sports. Today we continue this mission by providing greater access for fans to watch the matches of their favorite teams and supporting URC players, coaches and EPCR South African teams on their journeys through Doha to their destinations. Matches across the hemisphere“.
The three-year partnership was launched with a ceremony at Hamad International Airport in Doha. inside Al Safwa Lounge for Qatar AirwaysHis Excellency Akbar Al Baker Martin Annayi joined, chief executive officer dell’URC, Anthony Lepage, chief executive officer From EPCR, South African Rugby Union President Mark Alexander, Ali Price, Glasgow Warriors midfielder and Vodacom Blue Bulls quarterback Johannes Jossen, to celebrate this partnership.
Martin Annay, CEO of Rugby United said: “Our role has greatly expanded its horizons over the past 12 months, and we are honored to have Qatar Airways become one of our key partners. Travel is at the heart of all of our competitions, and this partnership will allow us to leverage Qatar Airways’ incredible experience and knowledge to support our teams and fans on their journeys to some of the season’s most important matches.“.
Qatar Airways is also partnering with SA Rugby as co-sponsor of the URC Southern Hemisphere competition and has welcomed their participation in the past. Gauri Roe, CEO of SA Rugby: “I have no doubt that Doha will become a familiar and welcoming stop for all our teams and employees. We are delighted to welcome Qatar Airways into our family and to share with them in the coming years, literally and figuratively, this extraordinary new journey in rugby.“.
Anthony LePage, CEO of EPCR, added: “We are very pleased to welcome Qatar Airways as the official airline partner of South Africa and to enter into this partnership alongside URC. With five South African clubs joining the Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup, Qatar Airways’ support will be essential to support players and coaches traveling for new competition from English and French clubs. We are entering a new global stage of our competitions and Qatar Airways will play a pivotal role in bringing these sports competitions to an ever larger audience.“.
As part of the partnership, Qatar Airways will support URC and EPRC in the game’s growth globally and will soon offer URC all-inclusive travel packages with flights, hotels and match tickets. Rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, for both men and women.
The URC is made up of sixteen teams, including two Scottish, two Italian, four Welsh, four Irish and, from the 2021/22 season, four South Africans.
Of the sixteen URC teams, eight qualify for Heineken Champions Cup, the highest level of competition. To qualify, a team must be one of the four Shield winners or one of the top four in the final tournament standings. The top URC qualifiers will face off against the top 14 French teams and the English Premier Rugby Championship. The remaining eight URC teams, as well as the remaining 14 rugby and Premiership clubs, are competing for the EPCR Challenge Cup.
The addition of URC and EPCR to its already extensive sports portfolio underscores Qatar Airways’ position as a brand committed to supporting sports around the world. The Qatari company is a major supporter of global football, including the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich, CONCACAF and CONMEBOL. In addition, Qatar Airways is the official airline for the Ironman and Ironman 70.3 triathlon series, the GKA Kite World Tour and various horse and swing riding, squash and tennis events.