THE SPORTS ENTREPRENEURS
“Sport By Fort”
Ricardo Fort spent his incredible career on the “brand side” of the business, deploying hundreds of millions of sponsorship and advertising dollars for the likes of Coca-Cola and VISA to name a few.
Great deep discussion about his views on sports as a platform from the perspective of a true “Advertising Man” who has worked with some of the biggest sports sponsors in the world.
- From studying Civil Engineering to realising that marketing was his calling at Unilever.
- FMCG space, great place to learn marketing, brands spending big dollars
- His dream (which was also mine) working for Coca Cola coming true. The Coke TV commercial that triggered it (featuring Zico). Third time lucky 🍀.
- Starting at Sprite brand before moving to Coca Cola brand. Brazil the 3rd biggest market for the brand.
- First involvements with FIFA World Cups, starting in 2002 Japan/Korea.
- Working across FIFA, UEFA and teams.
- HQ roles, developing global frame work vs local team execution and leveraging the property
- After the 2006 World Cup, back to Brazil before a stopover in India. These countries are a “mess”, challenging new role. Fans are similar in their passion for their respective sports (⚽ & 🏏)
- Short sting at Danone. Global Marketing Director based in Paris. Not the best match.
- Next stop Visa in San Francisco. More similarities than difference in approach by Coke & Visa to sponsorship.
- Beginning preparations for Brazil World Cup 2014 and Rio Olympics 2016
My Sao Paulo and Brazil World Cup experiences 🏆
- Inside look on how Visa leverages and measures these mega events, very focused on the customer (mainly Banks at the time, now much broader). Develop specific promotions.
- Being a big “Sponsor” – about the relationships with the Rights holders, not about the money 🤔? Ricardo explains.
- Back at Coke – homecoming as VP Global Sports & Entertainment Partnerships
- Coke’s massive global marketing and sponsorship budget, where and how to invest it. Being seen as the go to guy for the industry. Seeing 25 proposals per week.
- Everything starts with a “Problem”. How can a sponsorship help fix the problem. THE KEY MESSAGE (if you learn nothing else from our discussion).
- Start with public filings by companies and look at what problems they have. Look for the challenges and how you can help.
- Beyond sports – global entertainment, movies, music and gaming & Esports
- Gaming – huge visibility, distribution, eye balls. Connecting with Gamers via Publishers
- Reaching hardcore Gamers, thru Influencers & Esports
- Coke in Gaming since 2002 with EA’s Fifa, 2007/08 early days in Asia. Sensitivity to certain type of Games
- Being authentic as a brand is key – fans can smell fake from far
- His thoughts on the “Sugar drink” issue
- Coke vs Pepsi discussion
- Sport by Fort Consulting – his brand new agency – going Entrepreneurial route
- Helping other companies/brands with his 25 years experience in sponsorship
- Current Project examples:
- Working with brands who are looking at global events
- Sport tech start-ups
- Marketing plan for a Footballer, build a brand
- Higher education project
- Investors and Football club owners
- His final thoughts on Crypto & NFTs and brands
After 25 years working for some of the best companies in the world and almost a decade successfully leading the Global Sponsorship teams of Visa and The Coca-Cola Company, Ricardo launched Sport by Fort Consulting to help sponsors, leagues, investors and athletes successfully invest in sports.
An excellent track record dealing with major global and local sporting organizations and the savvy of having negotiated over a billion dollars in sponsorship contracts, position Ricardo as an expert with unique skills to help investors evaluate, decide and negotiate partnerships.
At Coca-Cola (Atlanta, GA – USA), Ricardo led the Company’s global portfolio of sports and entertainment sponsorships, partnerships and events, including the International Olympic Committee, FIFA, UEFA, the Special Olympics, athletes, McLaren F1 team, record labels, movie studios, the gaming industry and other worldwide sports and entertainment properties.
Prior to this role, Ricardo was the SVP of Global Brand, Product & Sponsorship Marketing at Visa (San Francisco, CA – USA), where he was responsible for all global consumer marketing initiatives including branding, advertising, digital, design and sponsorships.
Ricardo led the Visa team, one of the most active sponsors in the world, in the end-to-end initiatives related to the International Olympics Committee, FIFA, the International Paralympic Committee, UEFA, the NFL, dozens of Football, Baseball and Basketball teams in the USA and hundreds of Olympic athletes.
Before Visa, Ricardo was the Global Marketing Director for the dairy category at the Group Danone (Paris – France), and held several other Marketing roles at Coca-Cola in Brazil, USA and India, and multiple roles at Kellogg’s and Unilever.
Ricardo obtained a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree from Escola Politécnica da Universidade de São Paulo and has a Specialization in Business Administration from Fundação Getúlio Vargas, both in Brazil. He is married and the father of two teenage girls.