Emirates airline renews AC Milan shirt deal

Emirates airline celebrated the renewal of its shirt sponsorship of AC Milan for five more seasons on Monday in a deal reportedly worth 85 million euros (more than $100 million).

With bonuses, the agreement could be worth 100 million euros ($125 million), according to the ANSA news agency, a 40 percent increase on the previous deal.

AC Milan's general manager and vice president Barbara Berlusconi welcomed a sponsorship deal with Emirates, saying it "demonstrates the importance" of the Serie A club.

"It's not an easy time, but on the other hand I feel this is a natural marriage," Berlusconi added. "We share common values, which are quality and excellence. Emirates link the entire world with their flights while Milan are the most popular club in the world.

"This agreement demonstrates the importance of Milan as a brand around the world. I think it's only natural, when considering the glorious history of our club, that we are part of this elite.

"We have a lot in common with them and I think we can all be satisfied, with the added value it gives both to Emirates and to us. I don't think we can reveal the figures, but I think it's an important deal for the future of Milan."

The CEO of Emirates, Sir Timothy Charles Clark, was also present at a press conference on the day his airline also commenced flights with an A380 airbus to the city's Malpensa airport.

"Combining these two events in one day shows how important they are," explained Clark. "We have increased our business in this part of the world over recent years. Without going into detail, this is a fundamental relationship between us and Milan.

"Milan are known everywhere. We know there are Milan fans in every corner of the globe, all going around in Milan shirts. This could be the beginning of something even bigger."

That could represent sponsorship of a new stadium, for example, one of the Serie A club's biggest current projects which is looking increasingly likely to involve a move away from San Siro. "I still feel a new stadium is fundamental for a club like Milan," said Berlusconi.

"We love San Siro, but football is evolving and changing rapidly. We hope to announce something in this direction in the near future. It's a long job and we're assessing different sites, but we have a lot of support.

"It is something very important for Milan and the whole of Italy, which is why we want to move on with this project. When we're ready, Emirates are the first people we will present the project to. It would be a dream to collaborate with them on this project."