Athlete activism is as powerful as ever as Cristiano Ronaldo wipes billions of Coca-Cola’s share price

Following today’s news (Wednesday 16 June) that Coca-Cola saw a $4.2bn dip in share price following Cristiano Ronaldo removing two of its bottles during a press conference;

Conrad Wiacek, Head of Sport Analysis at GloblaData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“Cristiano Ronaldo’s actions in removing bottles of Coca-Cola from the press conference ahead of Portugal’s opening game in Euro 2020 is a reminder of the power athletes have when it comes to marketing and product endorsement. While only a 1.6% drop in share price for Coca-Cola, this equates to a $4bn drop in value for the brand. As an athlete with a partnership portfolio worth over $70m a year personally, Ronaldo understands the benefits that sponsors bring and the assistance they can provide in building a personal brand, so to see him publicly take on a giant such as Coca-Cola has understandably caught attention.

“What this action will do is make the likes of UEFA and Fifa much more aware of the power of celebrity athletes for the rest of Euro 2020 and heading into next year’s World Cup to be held in Qatar, which is already seeing numerous countries such as Norway protest against the conditions workers have been facing in the build up to the World Cup.

“Not only will the actions of Ronaldo force tournament organisers to answer awkward questions from official sponsors, it also brings into stark relief the power athletes have when they wish to speak on an issue. As seen from the restrictions the IOC have brought in around ‘athlete activism’ for the Olympics Games in Tokyo, the IOC have concerns around athletes making a stand at their showpiece event. However, it is likely that official sponsors may see more disruption to their partnerships around major events as athletes make more of a stand in future.”

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