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Messi’s new Inter Miami soccer jersey replaces crypto firm logo with cruise operator icon

Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi and his teammates at Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami will wear the icon of Royal Caribbean International on their jerseys for the upcoming campaign.
The Florida-based cruise operator revealed the news at an unveiling event and described the transaction as a “multiyear partnership.”
The club’s sponsorship switch appeared to mark another step away from the crypto industry in Miami.
Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi and his teammates at Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami will wear the icon of Royal Caribbean International on their jerseys for the upcoming campaign, replacing crypto investment firm XBTO as the club’s main sponsor.
In a statement published Tuesday, Royal Caribbean International announced it would soon “make its mark front and center” on the Inter Miami’s team’s soccer jerseys.
The Florida-based company, one of the world’s largest cruise line operators, revealed the news at an unveiling event and described the transaction as a “multiyear partnership.” It did not disclose financial details of the agreement.
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“It’s exciting to now combine forces, and I can’t wait for the future that our two organizations will forge for our industries, for our fans around the world, and of course, for our local communities here in South Florida,” said Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty in the statement.
The sponsorship deal is likely seeking to harness Messi’s popularity ahead of the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner’s second season at Inter Miami.
Alongside partnering with Hard Rock International for a “Milanese style” chicken sandwich, Messi recently helped Royal Caribbean International to launch its enormous “Icon of the Seas” ship.
XBTO, a global cryptofinance firm, had previously announced a multi-year partnership with Inter Miami in September 2021 in what was thought to have been among the biggest MLS deals.
Inter Miami said at the time that the XBTO agreement represented a “significant milestone in the mainstream acceptance of crypto” and inched Miami “closer to becoming the mecca of the crypto world.”
The club’s sponsorship switch for the forthcoming MLS campaign, which gets underway next month, appeared to mark another step away from the crypto industry in Miami.
Last year, for example, the home arena for the NBA’s Miami Heat changed its name from the FTX Arena to the Kaseya Center. Crypto exchange FTX, once valued at $32 billion, collapsed in November 2022 following a liquidity crisis.
Inter Miami’s pivot to a cruise operator comes as the industry continues to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. U.S. cruise operators and travel agents told Reuters late last year that 2024 was looking like a banner year for cruise vacations after being badly hit during the Covid-19 crisis.

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