The male world record holder of most goals scored in international soccer matches, winner of 5 Ballon d'Or, and 4 Golden Shoes, who also effectively uses his social presence for endorsements and owned brands - presenting the the world's most marketable athlete - Cristiano Ronaldo.
Here we track down the endorsements, business ventures, and the personal brand built by Cristiano Ronaldo that makes him the most sought-after athlete for marketing a brand.
The recent firestorm sparked by Cristiano Ronaldo being transferred to Manchester United did not just end with social media trends and hot discussions, his iconic #7 jersey in its new form tore the roof up and sales hit record figures.
#7 Jersey - Manchester UnIted
Sales in the first hour itself were higher than the best day of global sales for the club's online store. Four hours, that's all it took to break the record of highest daily sale on a single sports merchandise site outside North America, according to a report by Sky Sports.
#7 Jersey - Manchester UnIted
A brand associating with one of the highest-paid athletes and one of the two best football players in the world inscribes its welfare as soon as it is signed as an endorser. His cult following garnered through a list of achievements that has a whole Wikipedia page makes him a bankable global ambassador, that generates a high media value for each brand he associates with.
The Brand Endorsements
At the age of 18, when he had first joined Manchester United, transferring from Sporting CP, Ronaldo was signed as an endorser by the multinational corporation, Nike. In November 2016, after a successful stint and the player wearing over 60 different Nike Mercurial boots, the brand announced a long-term partnership (lifetime deal) with the athlete.
He is also known for sustaining his peak fitness all year round through extensive training and workouts off the pitch, which made him the best fit for the brand to market a slate of offerings such as apparel, equipment, and accessories, along with footwear and jerseys, and to also amplify the brand philosophy with campaigns featuring him.
The global icon does not just bring his following and popularity to the table, Nike mentions that Ronaldo's expertise and insights shared through extensive feedback have helped Nike’s design team on numerous products, especially the Mercurial boots. "His commitment to fitness has also informed Nike’s training products, while his style is regularly on display in Nike Sportswear".
In 2018, Ronaldo announced a 3-year extended partnership with a long-time partner, the dietary supplements brand, Herbalife Nutrition. Along with brands such as Clear from the house of Unilever, and the educational institution Università eCampus for which he also sponsored 24 scholarships, he is currently also in an active partnership with LiveScore, a live sports action destination that provides real-time sports updates, as the Official Global Brand Ambassador.
Behind The Results - Herbalife Nutrition
Scholarships Announcement - Università eCampus
More Than A Score - LiveScore
The partnership with LiveScore entails a global ATL creative campaign, including the brand's first TV spot, amplified by a digital campaign, along with Ronaldo's image being used across LiveScore’s digital inventory and content. As a real-time sports updates provider that has a presence in 200 territories worldwide, Ronaldo's profile combined with his social media following overlaps with the brand's highly relevant target audience.
Ric Leask, Marketing Director, LiveScore, mentioned, "In a year that has seen LiveScore rapidly evolve as a global sports media business, this landmark new relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo is, without doubt, the biggest moment so far. There is simply no bigger sportsperson - past or present - than Cristiano Ronaldo, who continues to captivate fans around the world with his brilliance on the pitch".
Along with these ongoing partnerships, Ronaldo also endorses MTG, Therabody, Frreefire, Altice, ZujuGP, 7egend, Insparya, and more brands from various industries.
Social Media Presence
Ronaldo is the first and currently the only person to cross 500 Mn followers across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. With over 340 Mn followers on Instagram alone, he is the most followed person (not just athlete) on Instagram.
Historic Night - Cristiano Ronaldo
Along with sharing personal moments and career milestones and announcements, he also uses his following efficiently for promoting brand endorsements. His one Instagram post ranges from garnering anywhere around 7-15 Mn likes and tens of thousands of comments, and a single paid partnership post can amplify a brand's reach to new peaks.
Greatness Starts With A Goal - Nike
"Cristiano is one of the top influencers on the planet who has effectively leveraged his social following and engagement into a media powerhouse to drive tremendous value for his sponsors. He's been incredibly effective at integrating his sponsors into the content he shares", said Scott Tilton, Co-Founder, Hookit, a sponsorship analytics, and valuation platform, in a statement to Forbes.
Nike, LiveScore, Clear, and Università eCampus are some of the brands that can be found presently on his profile. He also uniformly uses the 'paid partnership' tag to disclose the promotions to his audience. Along with the endorsements, he also promotes his owned brand CR7 through his following.
CR7 is a lifestyle brand owned by Ronaldo that offers a range of eyewear, footwear, innerwear, denim, and fragrances. CR7 Fitness by Crunch is a line of gyms that also offers personal programs, fitness instructors, professional nutrition plans, and more. Top of this line is Pestana CR7 Hotels, a chain of luxury and lifestyle hotels in multiple prime locations such as New York, Madrid, Madeira, Lisbon, and more.
Innerwear - CR7
Fragrances - CR7
Eyewear - CR7
With a colossal social media following, a list of career milestones that keeps on growing with each game, a global following that is too large to go unnoticed, a revived stint at Manchester United that sets the expectations higher, and business ventures that add the title of entrepreneur besides 'global icon' and 'world's most popular athlete', Cristiano Ronaldo is presently the world's most marketable athlete.