Hard Rock International Teams with Lionel Messi for 50th Anniversary

Soccer legend signs five-year worldwide deal as ambassador for the restaurant, entertainmentand hospitality brand.
License Global

June 16, 2021

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The first Hard Rock Cafe opened in London in 1971. Now, the brand is kicking off its anniversary celebrations by unveiling a new partnership with soccer player Lionel Messi, who will serve as brand ambassador for the next five years, as the first athlete to partner with Hard Rock.

“I am honored to partner with such a renowned brand as Hard Rock, and even more so at this historic moment – its 50th anniversary,” says 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 who has a history of teaming with music legends."

The partnership harkens back to Hard Rock’s roots, as the brand’s T-shirts came to fruition when the original London Café sponsored a local soccer team in the early 1970s. The team T-shirt featured the Hard Rock logo. The extra shirts

were returned to the cafe and then given away to 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 part of the brand’s identity.

As part of the new partnership, Hard Rock has also unveiled a new collection of merchandise inspired by its new ambassador. In addition to the special 50th anniversary logo, the garments show some of the player’s characteristic symbols, such as the lion, the number 10 and his own

logo. This collection joins the brand’s merchandising line, available in all its stores

and online shop.

“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,” says Jim Allen, chairman, Hard Rock International. “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.”

Allen and Messi have sealed this agreement with a gift exchange. Messi has given him a signed replica of his golden ball, a gesture that Allen has reciprocated with an electric guitar designed especially for him. A replica of this guitar, signed by the player, will be displayed at a Hard Rock property to be announced soon.

As part of the campaign, Messi makes his debut as an ambassador starring in a Hard Rock commercial.

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