Commenting on the announcement, which was made in the presence of media and MSC Cruises’ travel agent partners at London's Stamford Bridge, the official home of Chelsea Football Club, Gianni Onorato, ceo of MSC Cruises, said: ‘For MSC Cruises, this is an exciting opportunity to be working with the respected and highly successful Chelsea FC – the brand as well as the overall organisation.
Part of strategic UK & Ireland focus
It is part of MSC Cruises’ strategic focus on the UK & Ireland, with the two markets being a key part of the next phase of our global growth plan. It is also designed to build further positive brand association as well as introduce our distinctive cruise experience to new audiences both in the UK & Ireland and globally.’
MSC Cruises has a presence globally and has welcomed over 170 different nationalities on its ships.
Accessing new audiences
Onorato added: ‘MSC Cruises and Chelsea FC both have a strong global footprint and as we seek to access new audiences in an engaging and relevant way, they are the perfect partner to help us.’
Chris Townsend OBE, commercial director, Chelsea Football Club stated: ‘We are delighted to announce a partnership with MSC Cruises at such an exciting time for their business. With the imminent launch of their new ship, it is the perfect time to begin our partnership and we truly believe that working together, we can help MSC Cruises to achieve their strategic goals, both locally, in the UK and Ireland, and globally.’
Chelsea FC ambassadors to attend MSC Bellissima naming
The partnership with Chelsea comes during a milestone week for MSC Cruises, as the 100-day countdown to the launch of the new MSC Bellissima begins. The new addition which will be named in Southampton in a star studded ceremony on March 2, 2019 will be the first ship in the fleet to benefit from the partnership where signed Chelsea FC memorabilia will be on display for guests in the British pub on board. In celebration of the partnership, ambassadors from the football club will attend the naming ceremony.
Of the impact on trade activity Antonio Paradiso MSC Cruises’ managing director for UK & Ireland, added: ‘For our travel agents this will mean both an increased awareness around cruise from the billions of football fans who watch the Premier League every week but also an opportunity to engage a totally new audience who may never have considered a cruise before.’
The multi-million-pound deal, includes amongst other elements LED perimeter advertising, VIP hospitality, star player engagement as well as a dedicated digital marketing presence. It will commence in January 2019 and will run until June 2021.