Mastercard turns dream into reality for Saudi football fan

Basmah Alshnaifi with global footballers in the final match of UEFA Champions League.
Updated 11 June 2019
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Mastercard turns dream into reality for Saudi football fan

Basmah Nawaf Alshnaifi, a 10-year-old girl from Saudi Arabia with a passion for football, was given the opportunity of a lifetime, to become the first female Saudi mascot at the UEFA Champions League. The unique experience was made possible for her thanks to Mastercard. 

As the official sponsor of the sporting tournament, Mastercard provided an opportunity for Alshnaifi to walk the stadium with global footballers in the final match of UEFA Champions League in Madrid. 

The payments technology company offered Saudi cardholders the chance to win a surprise ticket by using their Mastercard debit and credit cards for everyday payments.  

J.K. Khalil, general manager in Mastercard, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, said: “At Mastercard, we are committed to offering cardholders priceless opportunities that allow them to pursue their passions. It is heartening to see such unbridled enthusiasm for football among young Saudi girls today, and we couldn’t be happier to make Basmah’s dream a reality. By innovating in the way we engage with consumers, we will continue to bring unique campaigns to the Kingdom that resonate with the people’s passions and make everyday digital payments simple, secure and rewarding.” 

Alshnaifi was given a ticket to the UEFA Champions League Final match between Tottenham and Liverpool, where she got the chance to be the mascot for football legends. 

“I never thought I would ever have such an experience in my life. I have always had the dream to play in a big stadium and today I am present in the UEFA Champions League Final as a player mascot. I want to thank Mastercard for making this happen. This is the best gift I’ve ever received and I will always remember it, thank you as well to my family and academy for supporting me,” Alshnaifi said.  

Mastercard has been a sponsor of the UEFA Champions League since 1994, and recently added two women’s football clubs, Arsenal Football Club and Olympique Lynonais to its global portfolio, sending a signal for gender equality in sports.


New Hyundai Sonata a sportier mid-size sedan

Updated 24 June 2019
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New Hyundai Sonata a sportier mid-size sedan

Hyundai’s new Sonata is ready for showrooms, giving the eighth-generation of the mid-size sedan a sleek four-door-coupe look that highlights the brand’s latest “sensuous sportiness” design language.

Created at Hyundai’s California Design Studio, the redesigned Sonata offers a freshly styled cascading grille framed by distinctive lighting architecture, and an entirely new rear. Chrome accents surround the daylight opening (DLO) and fresh wheel designs complete the look. New bodywork is built on Hyundai’s latest third-generation platform for a re-engineered driving experience.

“For more than three decades, each new generation of Sonata has raised the bar for quality and value among mid-size sedans, and this latest evolution also sets the standard for style, innovation and technology,” said Mike Song, Hyundai’s head of operations for the Middle East and Africa. “In a market increasingly divided into niche segments, the all-new Sonata reconsiders customer expectation in the sedan class and offers something sportier and more exciting than what has gone before.”

A hallmark of the new Sonata’s exterior is its Hyundai-first LED daytime running lights — embedded in a chrome strip. The lighting strip appears as chrome when the engine is turned off, but lights up when the driver starts the car. When night falls, available LED headlamps with dynamic bending light illuminate the path ahead.

Inside, the renewed center stack and instrument panel echo the exterior’s new looks. The trend carries down to the instrument design and a strong three-spoke steering wheel. Piano key buttons for audio and HVAC controls give a premium look and touch. The instrument panel follows a winged shape inspired by stealth aircraft. Visual elements combine to create a levitating effect, while designers have worked to maximize the sense of interior space. One clever application of new technology is a shift-by-wire (SBW) gear selector, which is sleek and technologically advanced, and takes up significantly less space than a traditional gear selector.

Interior fittings include a standard seven-inch color display audio touchscreen with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and a Qi wireless charging pad is available to keep smartphones topped up. Sonata now adds a second-row USB charge port. At the heart of the AVN system is a Bose premium sound system equipped with 12 speakers.

“The all-new Hyundai Sonata delivers a premium experience for driver and passengers,” added Song. “We apply a range of new technologies intuitively, with an emphasis on functional convenience, adding features that we know our customers will use and value.”

The new Sonata features six standard airbags and a range of safety systems, including advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) as part of Hyundai’s SmartSense technologies.