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Kobe Bryant To Endorse Turkish Airlines

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has signed his second straight international endorsement deal.

This time it’s with Turkish Airlines.

Kobe Bryant
AP
Kobe Bryant

The airline is stepping up its commitment to flights from the United States and thought Bryant was the perfect spokesman.

It’s a two-year deal that will involve Bryant starring in a promotional film that will be aired on international television channels and in movie theatres in more than 80 countries next year.

The company will also use Bryant in digital, print and billboard advertising.

“I’ve never been to Turkey,” Bryant told CNBC. “But all the guys on the team in the league who have been keep saying it’s one of the hottest places to go to.”

Bryant said as part of the deal he’ll make several trips to the country. The airline will begin non-stop service from Los Angeles International Airport to Istanbul, Turkey, four times a week beginning in March. Los Angeles is its fifth North American gateway, following New York, Chicago, Washington and Toronto.

Last year, Bryant signed a deal with Chinese web company Sina.com to start a blog on the site.

“This another deal for me that proves that we’re global,” Bryant said. “And it obviously makes sense with them starting flights from L.A.”

If you’re thinking, why would Bryant sign a deal with Turkish Airlines? It’s actually a smart deal given the cash the company has been pulled in.

Turkish Airlines earned a $515 million profit in 2009. Compare that to AirTran, which earned $135 million profit in 2009, the highest revenue of any U.S. carrier. The only other U.S. airlines to even earn a profit in 2009 were Alaska, Southwest and JetBlue.

Passenger traffic for Turkish Airlines is up 17.1 percent on the year so far this year. The airline has carried 26.9 million passengers from January through November. The company is also adding 42 new planes next year.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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