London, United Kingdom, 11 November 2021 – MSC Cruises today announced that it will be extending its partnership with Chelsea FC for an additional three years until June 2024, and continue its role as the Premier League giants official global cruise partner.
Commenting on the announcement, Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises, said “The continuation of the partnership is further evidence of our commitment to the UK & Irish markets which are a key part of our global growth plan. Across the world we are working with key partners to support our journey and I am pleased to say that the Chelsea FC partnership will continue to be important in our goal to build further positive brand association as well as introduce our distinctive cruise experience to new audiences both in the UK & Ireland, and globally.”
In the first three years of the partnership MSC Cruises has seen a year on year increase in brand awareness amongst the 2.6 million Chelsea Football Club fan base in the UK and Ireland. At the start of the partnership just 14% of fans were familiar with the cruise line, growing to 85% at the end of the first term of the partnership.
Antonio Paradiso, Managing Director MSC Cruises UK & Ireland said “Despite the challenges of the pandemic the partnership has been a great success and I am thrilled to be extending it for another three years.”
“We began this partnership in order to reach new audiences, and increase brand awareness and I’m happy to report that so far we have exceeded this objective. We’ve seen great success in terms of engagement and customer acquisition and have had feedback from passengers and travel agents about how this increased visibility has driven them to book a cruise with us.”
The Chelsea FC partnership is just one part of MSC Cruises’ long term strategic plan to grow the business in the UK & Irish markets. Five years ago the cruise line announced the intention to significantly expand the UK business and has achieved this with various long standing commitments to the market including supporting the building of the new Horizon Terminal in Southampton, and confirming that at least one MSC Cruises ship will homeport from Southampton, starting with MSC Virtuosa for the summer 2021 season.
Mr Paradiso added “Having seen such positive results from our partnership during the most challenging of times for the travel industry, we have no doubt this partnership will continue to offer immense benefits over the coming years. ”
Over the past year MSC Cruises has put greater focus on online activations, leveraging their digital presence through engaging social campaigns with Chelsea FC.
Focused on creating engaging and relatable content to introduce cruise holidays to both new and existing audiences, the partnership will continue to offer both consumers and trade partners the opportunity to interact with both brands in a refreshing way - from zoom calls with Chelsea FC players to tickets to Premier League home games at Stamford Bridge, to visits to the Clubs world-class training facility, with the unique opportunity to meet the stars of Chelsea’s Men’s team.
Chelsea FC CEO, Guy Laurence added: “We are thrilled to extend our partnership at this exciting period for the travel industry. We have worked closely with MSC over the past three years to support them in their strategic business objectives and this extension is testament to the best-in-class activations we have delivered with them to meet and surpass those goals.
We now look forward to the next stage of our partnership, as we continue to use our global platforms in an innovative and unique manner to share MSC’s premium cruise experiences with our loyal fanbase”
The partnership includes amongst other elements LED perimeter advertising, VIP hospitality, star player engagement as well as a dedicated digital marketing presence and will run until June 2024.
Visit here for more information about MSC Cruises and here for Chelsea Football Club.