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The soccer player will serve as a brand ambassador for the next five years.
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Hard Rock International, which launched in London in 1971 and has now become a staple of the restaurant franchise industry the world over, is celebrating its 50th anniversary by unveiling a new partnership with professional soccer player, Lionel Messi.
Messi will serve as a brand ambassador for the next five years, and is the first athlete to partner with Hard Rock.
To seal the agreement, the chairman of Hard Rock International, Jim Allen, and Lionel Messi took part in a gift exchange. Messi gave a signed replica of his golden ball, which was reciprocated by Allen with an electric guitar designed especially for the sports star. A replica of this guitar, signed by Messi, will be displayed at a Hard Rock property to be announced soon.
“Over the past five decades, the Hard Rock brand has grown to become one of the world’s most recognizable and beloved brands, with a Cafe, Hotel or Casino located in 68 countries,” said Jim Allen. “As we reached our 50th anniversary milestone, we knew that we needed to partner with an icon to help us celebrate in a new and unexpected way, and there was no better choice than the legendary Lionel Messi.”
The partnership harkens back to Hard Rock’s roots, as the brand’s world-famous T-shirts came to fruition when the original London Cafe sponsored a local soccer team in the early 1970s. The team T-shirt featured the simple Hard Rock logo.
The extra shirts were returned to the cafe and then given away to loyal customers. Eventually, the restaurant had to set up a separate concession stand to handle T-shirt sales. To this day, Hard Rock’s Classic T-shirt remains an integral part of the brand’s identity.
“I am honored to partner with such a renowned brand as Hard Rock, and even more so at this historic moment – its 50th anniversary!” said Lionel Messi. “Sports and music are an integral part of my life, a perfect combination between my profession and my leisure time. Uniting both is a great success, and I am very happy that they have counted on me for this special outcome. It is an honor to be the first athlete to partner with a brand that has a history of teaming with music legends.”
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