MSC Cruises has announced a partnership with Chelsea FC, the former Premier League Champions.
The two-and-a-half year deal, which begins in January, will ultimately mean that MSC can harness the global reach of Chelsea FC to reach the new to cruise market. The Premier League attracts 3.2bn global viewers annually.
Speaking to Cruise Adviser about the multimillion pound deal, Gianni Onorato, the CEO of MSC Cruises, said: “Chelsea is an excellent club. It’s among the best known clubs, not only in the UK, but globally. We’ve done our homework before deciding this and there is a real opportunity here.
MSC has followed similar models in Italy with AC Milan, Napoli and Juventus; Germany, with Bayern Munich; and in Spain with Valencia.
Antonio Paradiso, the managing director for UK and Ireland, added: “This deal has incredible potential. It’s about raising the profile of MSC Cruises to millions of customers who have never even thought about taking a cruise.”
It’s how we’re going to start attracting new-to-cruise customers
The partnership will include MSC digital advertising boards during home games, as well as VIP hospitality, player engagement and a dedicated digital marketing presence – something that Paradiso said was particularly exciting for the company.
There will also be Chelsea memorabilia in the British Pub on board MSC Bellissima, when it launches in Southampton in March. Representatives from the club will be at the naming ceremony.
Paradiso added: “We’ll be able to run competitions through social media with some really fun and engaging content – with prizes like boarding the team plane to away Champions League game. Real money can’t buy experiences. These prizes and competitions will be made available to travel agents, too.
“One thing that is key about this partnership is that the sky is the limit. It’s all about amplifying our message – and engaging with new people. It’s how we’re going to start attracting new-to-cruise customers.”