- Inter Miami FC has dropped cryptocurrency firm XBTO as its jersey sponsor and signed a new multiyear deal with Royal Caribbean Cruises.
- The sponsorship will leverage the global popularity of Inter Miami star Lionel Messi, who recently helped launch a new Royal Caribbean cruise ship.
- The deal aligns Royal Caribbean with Inter Miami as the cruise industry rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic, while crypto continues to fade from prominence in Miami’s sports scene.
Major League Soccer club Inter Miami unveiled a new multiyear jersey sponsorship with Royal Caribbean Cruises this week, replacing cryptocurrency firm XBTO. The deal brings together two major brands and global superstar Lionel Messi ahead of his second MLS season.
Inter Miami Drops Crypto Sponsor for Cruise Giant
Inter Miami previously had a sponsorship agreement with crypto investment firm XBTO. However, the club has now partnered with one of the world’s largest cruise operators, Royal Caribbean International. The cruise line will feature prominently on the front of Inter Miami’s jerseys when the 2023 MLS season kicks off next month.
Royal Caribbean announced the new deal at a launch event in Miami on Tuesday. Financial details were not disclosed, but the company described it as a “multiyear partnership.”
Partnership Seeks to Leverage Messi’s Star Power
The sponsorship aligns Royal Caribbean with Argentinian soccer legend Lionel Messi. The eight-time Ballon d’Or winner joined Inter Miami last year and will be entering his second MLS season. Royal Caribbean is likely aiming to harness Messi’s global popularity through the jersey deal.
Messi also recently helped launch Royal Caribbean’s new Icon of the Seas cruise ship. The partnership allows the cruise line to market its brand to Messi’s legions of soccer fans worldwide.
Cruise Industry Rebounds from Pandemic
The jersey sponsorship comes as the cruise industry continues recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Cruise travel was badly impacted for several years but is seeing a resurgence.
Royal Caribbean and other major cruise operators reported strong demand and bookings for 2023 and beyond. The Messi jersey deal provides valuable marketing exposure as the industry seeks to regain momentum after the pandemic slump.
Crypto Continues Retreat in Miami
Inter Miami’s dropping of crypto firm XBTO follows other moves away from crypto in Miami recently. The city was hoping to become a hub for cryptocurrencies, but the industry’s troubles have stifled momentum.
Last year, the Miami Heat’s arena changed names from FTX Arena to Kaseya Center after crypto exchange FTX collapsed. Messi’s jersey switch is the latest sign of crypto’s fading prominence in Miami’s sports and entertainment scene.
The new Royal Caribbean sponsorship aligns Inter Miami with one of the world’s top cruise brands. With soccer star Lionel Messi as the face of the club, the deal provides valuable exposure for Royal Caribbean as cruising rebounds globally. The partnership is a blow for crypto in Miami but could be a big win for both soccer and cruising.