LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have seen their global footprint expand in recent years under new ownership, and they plan to continue to grow their brand overseas with the aid of a new partnership with Emirates, the world's largest international airline."Over the last year, we have become, finally, the most
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have seen their global footprint expand in recent years under new ownership, and they plan to continue to grow their brand overseas with the aid of a new partnership with Emirates, the world's largest international airline.
"Over the last year, we have become, finally, the most heavily attended sports venue in the world," Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten said Friday during a media conference at Dodger Stadium to announce the partnership.
"But another important part of our history is the outreach we have had globally and internationally, and at a time when globalization is such an important thing for baseball as part of our new Commissioner's initiative, it gives us great pride to be able to partner with the leading global brand in the airline category. We're looking forward to even greater outreach."
The partnership, which makes Emirates the official airline sponsor of the Dodgers, will bring some noticeable changes to Dodger Stadium for the 2016 season, most notably Emirates signage on the foul poles and behind home plate.
• Photos: Dodgers announce partnership with Emirates Airline
The Dodgers and Emirates also announced future plans for a Dodgers contingent, led by slugging first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, to visit Emirates' headquarters in Dubai to conduct a baseball clinic for local Little League teams. In the meantime, the Dodgers will be sponsoring the Dubai Little League All Star Travel Teams, which will be renamed the Dubai Dodgers.
Referencing the Dodgers' growing popularity in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, Emirates Airline president Sir Tim Clark said the new partnership "is a huge moment" for his company.
"We have always been in search of an iconic U.S. sports entity, one that has reached not just the United States, but other parts of our network," Clark said. "Taken together, the Dodgers were the perfect fit for us. We're honored and very proud to have our brand associated with such an iconic team here in the U.S."
Dodgers ownership partner Peter Guber summed up the new partnership with a simple comparison.
"The Dodgers provide emotional transportation for [their] audience, [their] fans, and of course Emirates provides physical transportation," Guber said. "The idea of this combination is one that is born because great brands like to associate with great brands."
While the Dodgers organization will become involved with Little League in Dubai moving forward, Kasten said there are no plans at this time for the Dodgers to play exhibitions in Dubai.
Other new features coming to Dodger Stadium as part of the partnership include: an Emirates Lounge featuring a 70-person hospitality space for Emirates and guests; in-game activations; occasional ceremonial first pitches and fan-appreciation activities.
A select number of Emirates airplanes will also be adding Dodgers signage to the exterior of the aircraft.
**Austin Laymance** is a reporter for MLB.com.