Delta already sponsors the Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta Hawks, and says this move makes it a sponsor of all of the city’s major professional sports teams and is “continuing to deepen its ties with Atlanta,” where its headquarters and largest hub sits.
But the airline pulled out of its sponsorship of the Falcons in 2009, saying at the time that it was aligning more with baseball.
“Our customer research tells us that baseball is highly aligned to our customers’ interest,” a Delta spokesman said at the time. At the time, the Falcons’ vice president of marketing said selling advertising in the recession of that period was a struggle and said overall advertising revenue was down.
That same year, AirTran Airways launched a sponsorship of the Falcons and painted one of its planes black and red with the team's bird logo on the tail. After Southwest Airlines acquired AirTran, it became the official airline of the Falcons.
But even while another airline sponsored the team, Delta continued to carry the Falcons on charter flights.
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