SBD/June 12, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Rich & Handsome: Ronaldo Could Cash In From A Successful World Cup

Ronaldo has a combined 110 million social media followers
Portugal MF Cristiano Ronaldo by most accounts already is the top global soccer player in terms of "sheer marketability," but his closest rivals "will be left in the shade" if Ronaldo makes the '14 FIFA World Cup his own, according to Ben Rumsby of the London TELEGRAPH. Ronaldo's rise to the "unofficial face of Brazil 2014 has not happened by chance." It has been the "product of a carefully calculated strategy from the team behind him," led by long-time agent Jorge Mendes. Ronaldo has been pushed not only through "traditional forms of marketing space -- the billboards and television adverts -- but, crucially, on social media." He already is the "sports star with the most Facebook likes, with 83.3 million, while his Twitter account has attracted 26.6 million followers." While Ronaldo "reveals next to nothing" about himself on Twitter, the "endless endorsements of his various commercial partners and pictures of himself at sponsors’ events underline why he is considered such a precious commodity: this is a man who knows how to play the marketing game." Ronaldo counts Nike, Samsung and Emirates among his many endorsements. However, he is "savvy enough to know that nothing sells him better than his body." That was evident in both his recent Vogue cover with supermodel girlfriend Irina Shayk and his "carefully choreographed goal celebration after his penalty in the Champions League final." He ripped off his shirt and stood -- "muscles flexed -- just long enough for the cameras to get their fill" (London TELEGRAPH, 6/11). 

THE WORLD IS HIS PITCH: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Georg Szalai reported Ronaldo is listed as the "world's most marketable soccer player, ahead of Argentina's Lionel Messi," on the latest Celebrity Davie-Brown Index. Spain D Gerard Pique is listed third. The DBI results show that Ronaldo is "the best-known soccer player in the world today," with 83.9% of people knowing of him. In "such markets as Italy, Spain, Germany, Turkey and Argentina," this figure is above 95%. Ronaldo also ranks as "the most 'trend-setting' World Cup star," with 82.5% of people saying that he "reflects today’s trends in society." Ronaldo has had endorsement deals with the likes of Armani, Nike and Coca-Cola (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 6/11). Meanwhile, Forbes' Kurt Badenhausen notes "no sports figure can touch" Ronaldo when it comes to social media. The combined total of 110 million followers on Facebook and Twitter dwarfs Messi and Brazil F Neymar, who have the "next biggest social followings among athletes" (FORBES.com, 6/11).
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