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Euro 2020 – Sports stars biting the hand that feeds them

Euro 2020 – Sports stars biting the hand that feeds them

As the group of sixteen come together for another week of the Euros, many eyes will be on the antics of the footballing stars giving post-match interviews. A week ago, incidents such as Paul Pogba removing a bottle of Heineken from the table at the press conference and Ronaldo doing the same, this time with Coca-Cola – ’Agua… no Coca-Cola’’ – has sparked lively debates about sponsorship in sport.

Considering that the principle brands involved in the Euros have paid large fortunes to have those bottles there in the first place, was it right or wrong?

Certainly, one has to say ‘fair enough’ in the case of Pogba, who is a practicing Muslim, but eyebrows are raised at Ronaldo, a former brand ambassador for Coca-Cola and KFC.

Coca-Cola shares took a pummelling after the press conference, with many wild statements attributing this to Ronaldo. However, the fact is that their shares were already down 1% for the day before the press conference had even started.

As the tournament is now into the final sixteen, it will be very interesting to monitor the antics of these sports stars and their behaviour off the field of play, as these extremely well-paid and hugely successful athletes have various obligations to the brands that keep them in the style they are accustomed to.

As communications advisers, I would certainly be recommending to Ronaldo to jump in and immediately his very own brand of bottled water, which he could call Agua.

This story will continually run as it has already been an enormous hit, and it’s just a matter of time before sports stars begin to publicly shun brands to grab attention for their own point of view.

Bigger questions around alcohol and gambling companies sponsoring sporting organisations and competitions

Reflecting on the near misses of football sponsorship over the years, one of our favourites is West Brom’s deal with Ideal Boiler, resulting in the club’s mascot becoming ‘Boiler Man’. The sight of a man walking around a football pitch dressed as a combi boiler was so ludicrous that the fans loved it and it was a huge success.


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