Kuwait-based telecommunications firm Zain Group has been named the  title sponsor of the Arab Gulf Cup national teams’ soccer tournament.

The tie-up, struck with the Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation (AGCFF), has been put together by international sport and entertainment company IMG, which is the tournament’s exclusive commercial agency. It marks the first occasion the biennial Gulf Cup will feature a title sponsor.

The agreement will see the upcoming 25th edition of the Gulf Cup, which will take place in Iraq between January 6 (tomorrow) and 19, be known commercially as the Khaleeji Zain 25.

The AGCFF’s general secretary, Jassim Al Rumihi, has said: “We are delighted for our prestigious event to be associated with a leading regional brand. This is a result of our continuous efforts with our partner IMG to deliver a historic 25th edition Gulf cup.”

The 2023 Gulf Cup – postponed from its original slot in 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic – will feature the eight national teams of Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen, and will take place in the Iraqi city of Basra.

Victor Blundell, senior vice president for the Middle East and Eastern Europe at IMG Media, added: “Following a historic year for soccer in the Middle East, we’re thrilled to deliver this partnership between AGCFF and Zain Group. This is one example of how we’re working with AGCFF to drive new growth opportunities for soccer across the region.”

Although Zain is headquartered in Kuwait, it has subsidiaries in multiple other Middle Eastern countries, including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Jordan.

The deal between IMG and the AGCFF was struck in March and involves the agency handling the tournament’s media rights, all sponsorship activity, and corporate hospitality sales. It runs for six editions of the Gulf Cup.

Other sponsorship activities, aside from tournament naming rights, will include sales covering access to perimeter hoardings slots.
 
Bahrain are the current Arab Gulf Cup champions having won the 24th edition of the tournament in 2019, in Doha.