How did football help Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) to flourish?

6 mins read  Team SealuminatiJuly 6, 2021

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), recently climbed the ladder of the top container shipping company, beating the maritime giant Maersk. However, the company never stole the limelight as other companies would have done if they outcasted Maersk in container shipments. MSC has numerous tricks under its sleeve and is known for playing the right card at the right time, making them the epitome of any global game. Maybe this is the reason which makes them work under deadlights, not allowing anyone to decipher their business brains.

MSC was founded back in 1970 by Gianluigi Aponte. 51 years into the shipping industry, and this company is already dominating all major ports. This Italian-Swiss international shipping line operates nearly 524 offices spread across 155 countries. MSC has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland from where it keeps track of all the 100,000 plus employees. Moreover, 570 container ships operate under MSC with a total carrying capacity of 3,920,784 TEU. MSC’s shipping line conducts voyages on 215 different routes, getting calls at 500 ports.

But what makes them different? What about the exclusive business brains? The secrets are all hidden in MSC’s subsidiary holding-MSC Cruises. MSC Cruises have found a unique way of reflecting their supremacy over the blues. They signed contracts with football clubs of each country surrounding it. The company has its heart in Naples, Italy, the reason they signed the first "global cruising partner" contract with S.S.C Napoli. Then Valencia of Spain, Chelsea of England (UK), Paris Saint-German (PSG) of France, and the last deal was bagged with V-Varen Nagasaki, Japan.

MSC Cruises X S.S.C Napoli ( Season 2011-2012 )

The sponsorship brought two heavy heads of Italian and Neapolitan Excellence, MSC cruise, and world-famous Italian football club S.S.C Napoli S.p.A together. Napoli had the logo of MSC, all over their famous blue tees for the whole season. The sponsorship meeting was held on board MSC Splendida, where Pierfrancesco Vago (CEO, MSC Cruises) and Aurelio De Laurentiis (President, Napoli) signed the agreement.

Aurelio De Laurentiis ( President, Napoli), said : "We welcome MSC Cruises with sincere enthusiasm as it links its prestigious name with our club and co-sponsor Acqua Lete, testifying to the international strength of Napoli as we look with confidence beyond Italian and European borders."

He added, " It is important for companies promoting Naples and its traditions worldwide to see all of us here at Napoli pooling our energies with an international leader like MSC."

Midfielder Gokhan Inler raised the new jersey which had the mid-chest logo of MSC Cruises, confirming that the company had become their official sponsors. The agreement also encompassed the promotion of fans, tight event schedules, tournaments, as well as promoting theme cruises.

MSC Cruises X Valencia CF ( Season 2012-2014)

This sponsorship was almost decided to be signed in 2011 but was not due to some financial terms. Later, the contract was revived in the summer of 2012, and the collaboration extended from 1 year to 2 years, up to the 2014 summer. Valencia CF, the Spanish soccer giant, had the logo of MSC emblazoned on the left sleeves of their playing t-shirts for 2 consecutive La-Liga seasons.

Manuel Llorente, President, Valencia CF, expressed "satisfaction by continuing to promote the club after partnering with international sponsors such as MSC Cruises. The agreement, and above all its renewal, is a clear indicator that the Valencia CF and its sponsors are working very well, always with the common goal of getting better every season. "

The announcement of the renewal of the contract [extended] between Valencia CF and MSC Cruises, was made by Emiliano Gonzalez (CEO, MSC Cruises) aboard MSC Orchestra. However, the official presentation happened on board MSC Sinfonia. The cruise line promised and hosted sponsored cruises for Valencia CF fans through the whole of spring.

MSC Cruises X Chelsea FC ( Season 2019-2021 )

The multi-billion-pound sponsorship solely aimed to attract 3 billion fans, those who regularly follow Chelsea FC in the Premier League. MSC Cruises then confirmed that the club representatives would play a major part in the christening ceremony of MSC Bellissima in Southampton. Fans getting their tickets can enjoy the Chelsea Memorabilia on board. The partnership commenced in January 2019 and will continue till June 2021.

Gianni Onorato (CEO, 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 organization. It is part of MSC Cruises’ strategic focus on the UK and 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 and Ireland and globally."

Stamford Bridge (Chelsea’s Home Ground) was all lit up with LED, advertising the MSC cruises. Chelsea FC, being the best among Europe’s finest football clubs, has global outreach second to none. The deal consists of providing money-cannot-buy experiences, and VIP ticket winners the chance to accompany Chelsea in their away games.

MSC Cruises X Paris Saint German F.C (PSG) (Season 2019-2022)

MSC Cruises bagged consecutive deals within one month with the top two teams in the world. In February’19, they became the official and exclusive global partner of France’s leading football team-Paris Saint-German FC (PSG). The main objective of this 3-year partnership is to make an investment plan worth €13.6 billion, which will reinforce 17 new vessels to operate under MSC between 2017-2027. With this, MSC is trying to extend its 150 port dominance to 170 different nationalities on its vessels.

Marc Armstrong (CPO, Paris Saint-Germain stated): "We are delighted to welcome MSC Cruises to the Paris Saint-Germain family. We share core values such as striving for excellence and offering high-quality and innovative experiences to our fans and customers. Paris Saint-Germain and MSC Cruises are growing fast all over the world. The Club is now followed by over 65 million fans on social media and is especially focused on markets that are key to MSC Cruises, such as Brazil and Asia."

The agreement ensured a meet and greet with the club players. Parc des Princes (PSG's Home Ground) hosted the announcement ceremony, which was followed by LED advertising during live matches. During international tours, players were given VIP hospitality in which they signed merchandise and did the brand promotion. MSC Bellissima, which was christened during the previous deal, was delivered in a star-studded manner during this one.

MSC Cruises X V-Varen Nagasaki (Season 2019-2024)

The agreement between MSC Cruises and V-Varen Nagasaki was something different in comparison to the previous partnerships. The name "V-Varen Nagasaki" is eponymous to Nagasaki’s long heritage describing the port of call for Portuguese and Dutch traders. V stands for "vitória" (victory) in Portuguese and Varen "for sail" in Dutch. MSC Cruises were stupendous in their way to getting hold of the Portuguese and the German markets, by becoming the sole global partners of the Japanese J2 league’s football club.

Gianni Onorato (CEO, MSC cruises) said: "MSC Cruises and Japanet have a lot in common: values and business objectives, beyond both being family companies. This includes a commitment to sustainability and respect for the environment, in particular, all deeply rooted in every aspect of our business. This is what has brought us together from day one, in business as much as in sports. We also share, in fact, a passion for football. MSC Cruises already supports other great teams from around the globe, from Chelsea to Paris Saint Germain and Napoli, my hometown team. This is why it is only natural that we would come together to support V-Varen Nagasaki. "

A 5-year memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed aboard the cruise ship MSC Grandiosa between Japanet (the club’s official owner) and MSC Cruises on December’19. The partnership comes with large-scale promotion of cruising in Japan, admiring their long history of maritime trade. Moreover, Japan with this deal is looking forward to the completion of the club's state-of-the-art soccer stadium by 2023.

With the Euro Cup and Copa America in their final stages, the football fever is already high. Fans are going berserk with the goals scored by their favorite players, and they’re insanely following their ideals. Recently, Coca-Cola suffered a loss of $4 billion in stock following a gesture from Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese captain removed two Coca-Cola Bottles amidst an interview, stating he drinks only water.

These are the impacts that MSC tries to manipulate into their accounts. MSC has recorded a growth of 800% since 2014 and is already the 4th leading cruising line in no time. The Chelsea FC deal gained them substantial revenue growth, as over 2.4 million guests sailed on MSC cruises in the same year. Though the pandemic stepped in during the crucial year of 2020 for them, MSC Cruises is eyeing to recapitalize their cruising line stocks in the post-pandemic market. So, collaboration with football clubs could prove to be a benefactor for the Geneva-based cruising line. As European cruising lines are poised to resume, and the Euro cup is soon to get its winner.