Air Canada showcases AIHL to international network
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - Submitted by Andrew McMurtry
The Australian Ice Hockey League have further strengthened their bond with Air Canada announcing it will continue to broadcast the 2013 AIHL Finals in its global in-flight entertainment package for the remainder of June.
Having launched the coverage in May, the 2013 AIHL Finals will be replaced by the 2014 Canada Day Classic between the Sydney Bears and Melbourne Mustangs at the Medibank Icehouse on June 28, as well as the 2014 AIHL Finals series.
Packaged as a one-and-a-half-hour edit of the three finals games, Air Canada’s general manager of Australia and New Zealand, Paul McLean, said that the package is a perfect fit for the Canadian airline.
“Although hockey isn't the Canadian national sport - lacrosse is - hockey is the sport that we’re most passionate about,” McLean said. “I think when customers hear about hockey in Australia, the association is quite natural. It’s a natural fit but it also gives us exposure in a growing league that we know is gaining popularity.”
“Also with Robert Bannerman being so passionate about hockey and Canadian himself, his enthusiasm for driving this league forward, but also expanding it is something that also really attracted us. It’s a combination of a good fit and the drive of the senior people in the league.”
After coming on board last season for the Canada Day Classic between the Bears and Mustangs and sponsoring the 2013 Finals series, Air Canada have returned with a full season sponsorship in 2014.
McLean sees relationship with the AIHL as more than just a sponsorship.
“We view our sponsorship of the AIHL as a partnership,” McLean said. “Part of that is how can we support that partnership through our own brand and products. The importance of that to us is to show that we are not just sponsoring here but that we are actually a partner and by giving the league exposure in different markets or in our network, it shows that we actually value the league.”
AIHL commissioner, Robert Bannerman, said the relationship with Air Canada was beneficial for the league and an important opportunity to create international exposure.
"Air Canada is a great brand that is synonymous with hockey and we're proud to be partnering with them again in 2014," Bannerman said. “We’re thankful for their financial support, but also for the exposure offered by their international network.”