NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- First of all, let us stipulate that Americans often love their sports teams. They don't generally love their airlines, but they do love their sports teams.
So perhaps an airline can acquire love by sponsoring a sports team. Lots of airlines try it, providing sponsorships and also affixing their names to stadiums and ballparks. Airlines take this stuff seriously.
Delta (DAL), for instance, sponsors more than a dozen teams including the Mets, Braves, Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, Seahawks, New York Rangers and several college teams. American (AAL) announced in February that it will sponsor the Chiacgo Cubs, taking over from United, the Cubs' sponsor for about a decade. United (UAL) still sponsors the White Sox, Bears, Bulls and Black Hawks.
In this context, let us give credit to Etihad Airways, which said this week that it has signed a deal to become the exclusive airline partner of the Washington Capitals, the Washington Wizards, the Washington Mystics and the Verizon Center, where the three teams play.
Etihad chose not only to sponsor teams -- it chose to sponsor playoff teams.
And here, it should be said, Etihad chose to sponsor playoff teams in our nation's capital.
"This relationship is a sign of our long-term commitment to the Washington, D.C., market, which we have been serving since 2013," said Etihad CEO James Hogan in a prepared statement. "We are proud to announce this partnership, just as we are proud to connect the two capital cities of Washington, D.C., and Abu Dhabi."