Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 24 No. 112
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Coca-Cola Planning For Changing Sports Sponsorship Landscape In Next Decade

Coca-Cola VP/Global Assets & Partnerships Ricardo Fort said the dominant soda brand will face a vastly changing sports sponsorship landscape in the next decade. Speaking with Momentum Worldwide President & CMO Kevin McNulty in a one-on-one interview this morning at the ’16 Momentum Sports Marketing Symposium, Fort said, “The next 10 years are going to be fundamentally different from the sports world we grew up in.” He bolstered that assertion by citing developments such as an emerging global sports environment, new tools to measure sponsorship effectiveness, and the continued advance of digital content platforms. Fort helps manage Coca-Cola’s large portfolio of global sports sponsorships, and said there remains huge differences between the fandom of American sports fans and the fandom in other parts of the world. “Consumption of sports is still very different here than the rest of the world,” he said. “In places like Asia [and] Africa, there is a heightened importance of the individual [player] versus the team. But here, the affiliation with clubs [and] colleges is incredible. It’s a different reality than what’s happening abroad.” That, in turn, has created increased scrutiny for all of the brand’s sponsorships. “We are crazy for measurement, but it’s really about where you are, what your goals are for a particular partnership,” Fort said. “We sponsor 30-plus national soccer teams, for instance, but each [deal] has a different reason to exist.”

Quick Hits:
* On the need within the industry to better link traditional sports sponsorship activity with messaging around sustainability efforts: “They haven’t been integrated to the extent they should. It should drive our choices of sponsorships. ... For example, how does a group of athletes help tell the story of the importance of water? Going forward, it will be more purposeful.”

* On the increased trend of World Cups and Olympics being held in smaller, more remote areas: “Time zone is really more important than the location itself. Rio was great [for the ’16 Olympics]. Other events coming up in Asia will be more challenging, particularly with respect to broadcasting, since TV is still such a primary revenue driver for many of these organizing bodies.”

* On the need to be selective in determining sports sponsorships: “Everything could be attached to Coca-Cola. ... We get lots of great offers, great ideas. But 1 out of every 200 makes sense.”