Carnival Cruise Lines launched its Fun Ship 2.0 initiative, a $500 million effort to improve travelers' Carnival experiences, on Wednesday. The program is designed to give consumers more variety in dining and entertainment through strategic alliances. While the partnerships include celebrities Guy Fieri of Food Network and comedian Carlos Lopez, one of the most intriguing deals is with video game company EA Sports.
The two companies are teaming up to create “EA Sports Bars” for the cruise line's ships. The bars will allow travelers to play video games, watch sports on flat-screen TVs, and keep track of scores with a real-time live ticker feature. With trivia contests, video game tournaments, bar snacks, and a drink menu, people of all ages can find something to do at the bar, giving the partnership the potential to be very successful.
Recently, it seems like more companies than ever are forming alliances, which makes sense because partnerships often allow businesses to increase their audience reach beyond their typical target demographic. In March, EA Sports teamed up with ESPN in a campaign for its “Madden '12” video game that allowed fans to vote on the athlete to be featured on the game's cover. The initiative received 13 million votes, a record-breaking amount for both ESPN and EA Sports.
Also, KingsIsle Entertainment partnered with the NOW music series this summer to promote its Wizard101 video game to teens and tweens. The alliance reached both NOW music lovers and Wizard101 fans, helping to increase the consumer base of both companies.
Carnival, the first cruise line to reach 1 million Facebook fans, is not new to strategic alliances. In May, the company joined forces with Live Nation Entertainment to give the cruise line a chance to connect with music enthusiasts around the country.