Travel News

Major League Soccer Has A New Airline Partner And It Isn’t One You Would Think…

Major sport teams and sporting leagues in the US typically have an airline that they partner with. Unless you are swinging for the upscale suites at the stadiums named for that airline, it generally doesn’t have any impact for the consumer. Delta is the airline for the NY Yankees (my favorite team – I know I may have lost a couple of readers with that!) and I had always wished that there was something available to Delta’s Diamonds like special ticket pricing, reduced parking rates, etc. Unfortunately, I never got anything (though I know that have received perks at other stadiums).

Major League Soccer

Well, Major League Soccer just announced their new airline partner and it wasn’t any of the airlines you would think. No, its not American, Delta, Southwest, United, or even JetBlue. Nope, Major League Soccer signed with Etihad Airways to be their airline partner! Given that soccer isn’t that big of a deal in the US like it is in most other countries of the world, it is not surprising they went with a foreign airline. I would have thought it would have been some other international airline with a larger US presence than a Middle Eastern airline that only currently serves New York, Chicago, Washington, and Toronto. I am sure that Etihad had quite a huge offer for MLS in an effort to lock in what they call “the first multi-year sports sponsorship in the territory and one that underscores the expanding commitment to the U.S. market.” Hopefully, soccer fans get some kind of special deals from this!

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • For those of us who follow MLS, it’s no surprise. New York is getting a 2nd team as an expansion franchise, the owners are the Yankees and Manchester City (from the English Premier League); Manchester City plays in the Etihad Stadium.

  • Etihad’s main competitor is Emirates and EK is already the main airline sponsor for the US Open tennis (it used to be Continental/United). Perhaps this is just the start for EY’s sports sponsorship presence here in the USA.

  • Love it, but somehow I don’t think we’ll be seeing Ethiad ads at Columbus Crew Stadium anytime soon.

  • Etihad will be serving the DFW route later this fall I believe. Looking forward to trying them out for sure 🙂

    • You are correct – they are also adding LAX this year as well (it is just the 4 airports for now, though). I flew their business class in January and it was pretty nice. I really wanted to try their first class (or Diamond), but it was not on the route I was flying.