During the press conference in Budapest in the prelude to Portugal's Group F match Against Hungary, Cristiano Ronaldo moved the coca-cola bottles on the table away from him.
Ronaldo then held up a bottle of water, saying "Agua" (Water in Portuguese), appearing to promote water instead of coca-cola. Whilst at first glance this seemed to just be an athlete promoting a healthy lifestyle at a football tournament, it also coincided with a 1.6% dip in Coca-Cola's market value. The soft-drink company's share price dropped from $56.10 to $55.22, which meant that the market value of Coca-Cola plummeted from $242bn to $238bn - a decrease of $4bn!
This implies that there are risks that companies and brands may face when associating with athletes. additionally, that the commercial balance of power has shifted, mainly due to the rise of social media influence and power.
A former Coca-Cola sponsorship executive said that the incident is an example of rights infringement, with coca-cola potentially entitled to compensation or damages. This is because UEFA is contractually obliged to place Coca-Cola's products during the PRESS-conferences, as a result of their sponsorship deal.
However, despite the coincidental timing of Ronaldo's snub and the dip in market value, the incident was not to blame for the falling share price of Coca-Cola. The drink's company share price had already started dipping before the press conference started.
"American investors are not driven by what happens in a press conference ahead of a European football match...The entire market fluctuated yesterday and Ronaldo had absolutely nothing to do with it."
Tim Crow Sports Marketing Expert