Formula 1 fans will be seeing a lot more of MSC Cruises in the upcoming Formula 1 season. The cruise line has announced it will be the name sponsor for two Formula 1 Grand Prix races in 2024: the Japanese Grand Prix at the Suzuka track and the Gran Premio dell’Emilia Romagna at the Imola track in Italy.

This sponsorship is part of MSC Cruises’ standing partnership with Formula 1, which started in 2022, and a much broader drive to form partnerships with major sports teams worldwide.

In 2024, MSC Cruises will prominently feature in two Formula 1 Grand Prix races. The “MSC Cruises Japanese Grand Prix” is scheduled from April 5 through April 7 at the challenging Suzuka track in Japan. The Japanese Grand Prix is one of the most spectacular races of the season. 

The second race, “Formula 1 MSC Cruises Gran Premio dell’Emilia Romagna,” will take place from May 17 through May 19 at the historic Imola circuit. The Imola track has a notorious history and holds a special place in the hearts of race fans everywhere, much to do with the track being where legendary race car driver Aryton Senna passed away. 

MSC Cruises and Formula 1

As part of the deal, MSC Cruises’ name will be integrated into the race titles and track branding, an extension of its global sponsorship of Formula 1 running through the end of the 2026 season​. 

The two named races build on the partnership that MSC Cruises and Formula 1 entered into a couple of years ago, with the cruise line acting as the name sponsor for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps in the 2023 Formula 1 season.

The relationship between MSC Cruises and Formula 1 began in 2022 at the Bahrain Grand Prix when MSC became the official cruise partner of Formula 1. Since then MSC’s branding has been evident on racetracks around the world, with the cruise line’s cruise ships also present at various races. 

Guests can also book special Formula 1 cruises, where they can follow the races either onboard, or they can book a seat in the stands. There are also various VIP packages available where guests have access to the paddock club and meet & greets with F1 personalities.

In 2023, the F1 cruise took place onboard MSC Virtuosa during the final race of the season at the Abu Dhabi track, which race(s) will feature this year is yet to be announced.

Photo Courtesy: MSC Cruises

The partnership between Formula 1 and cruises is one in a trend that has seen multiple cruise lines align themselves with big-name sports brands. Besides F1, cruise lines have partnerships in place with American football, basketball, and soccer teams. 

MSC Cruises, in particular, has been extremely proactive in sports team partnerships. The cruise line works together with several soccer teams, such as Chelsea, Paris Saint Germain, SSC Napoli, and AC Monza. In basketball, the cruise line has a partnership with the New York Knicks, and with Turkish outfit Fenerbahce, and in American Football with the Miami Dolphins. 

Other cruise lines are also working hard to tie their brand in with sports teams. Carnival Cruise Line and the New York Jets and Miami Heat have established a sponsorship deal, as well as Royal Caribbean International and Inter Miami, and Norwegian Cruise Line and the Miami Marlins

The focus on Formula 1 and becoming the name sponsor for the Japanese and Imola Grands Prix are a logical development for the cruise line. The Netflix series Drive to Survive has had a major impact on the popularity of the sport in the United States, where MSC hopes to expand significantly in the coming years. 

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