ATLANTA (CelebrityAccess) — Delta Air Lines has backed away from renewing a sponsorship deal with Atlanta's Fox Theatre after rival Qatar Airways staged a private event at the venue, featuring a concert by Jennifer Lopez.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Delta, which has sponsored the Fox for more than two decades, said it will not renew their contract when it expires on May 31, 2017.
“When the CEO of Qatar first told the world that they would be flying to Atlanta, what he told the world was that he was going to start a flight from Doha to Atlanta… to rub salt in the wounds of Delta,” Delta’s chief legal officer Peter Carter told the AJC. “So we were very surprised and disappointed when we learned that the Fox Theatre — an organization that we’ve supported for years, an organization that has called us its official airline — we were shocked and surprised when we learned that they were hosting the coming out party for Qatar.”
“We felt that, you know, a real friend would have contacted us and had a conversation with us, and so we thought it was time for us to re-evaluate that relationship. And so we won’t be supporting the Fox going forward,” Carter added. “We were disappointed that we didn’t get a phone call, because I think a phone call would have probably prevented the whole thing.”
Qatar Airways has been aggressively expanding their international presence and in June, will start flight service from Atlanta to Doha.
A rep for the Fox told the AJC that they consider private events to be apart from any corporate sponsorship program and told the AJC that hosting the private function for Qatar Airways did not violate the terms of their contract with Delta.
“As we are not in tune with the industry politics of our sponsors, we are disheartened to learn that Delta has chosen to penalize the Fox Theatre for our decision to rent the venue to another airline,” the Fox rep told the AJC. – Staff Writers