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Sydney Opera House gets love from Ellen DeGeneres, Etihad Airways

January 23, 2013|By David Ng
  • A view of the Sydney Opera House from the arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
A view of the Sydney Opera House from the arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. (Brendon Thorne / Bloomberg )

Though it hardly needs it, the Sydney Opera House in Australia got a boost in exposure this week from two very different partners -- Etihad Airways of the United Arab Emirates, and talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres.

This week, DeGeneres told her Australian fans via Twitter to congregate at the Sydney Opera House on Tuesday to compete for a free flight to Los Angeles to attend a taping of her show. Reports in the Australian media said approximately 250 people gathered at the famous building to participate in a dance-off competition.

The contest was a prelude to DeGeneres' planned visit to Australia in March, when she will host her show from Sydney. 

Also this week, the Sydney Opera House announced it has entered a new sponsorship deal with Etihad Airways. The three-year deal was described by the opera house as a  "multimillion dollar" sponsorship, but no exact figure was announced.

The agreement comes on the heels of the airline's recent marketing agreement with Tourism Australia to promote travel from the Middle East, UK and Europe. 

Reports from Australia said the Sydney Opera House will not be renamed following the deal with Etihad. Louise Herron, the chief executive officer of the opera house, said in a statement, "We will be able to welcome more artists and visitors from around the world" as a result of the sponsorship.

She told the Australian Associated Press the majority of the sponsorship was "non-specific cash that would help fund art projects, dining and programming."

Sports venues are often named after corporate sponsors, but performing arts venues tend not to follow that practice. Instead, they are often named after major donors.

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