Tourism Minister Avraham Hirchson and Keith Edelman, managing director of the legendary British soccer club Arsenal have signed a sponsorship agreement through which Israel will advertise popular tourist sites to the London club's fan club and soccer stars.
The deal calls for Israel to pay the club, known as the "gunners", 350,000 British pounds (NIS 2.4 million) for the 2006/07 season, with an option to extend the deal for an additional year.
Next year Arsenal will move from legendary Arsenal Stadium to the state-of-the-art new Emirates Stadium currently being completed in London. Edelman said representatives of United Arab Emirate's-based Emirates Airways, one of the club's main sponsors, were kept abreast of developments throughout negotiations with Israel and have voiced no objections to the deal.
As part of the deal, Arsenal will declare Israel the club's official, exclusive holiday destination, and "visit Israel" ads will appear at the new stadium, on the clubs website and official magazine. The stadium will also feature permanent sales tables for t-shirts, and Israel will enjoy rights to use images of Arsenal stars for advertising purposes.
In announcing the project, Hirchson praised the deal, calling it "creative" and "revolutionary."
"(Through the deal with Arsenal) Israel will get a lot of coverage as a preferred tourist destination in the consciousness of millions of people, not only in England, but around Europe and the world."
Edelman also said the deal would help Israel build its image as a vacation spot.
"When we find the time, club representatives and players will come to visit Israel," he said.