Ruibal, currently based in Lucerne with ISL, will join Coke's worldwide sports division in Atlanta, which has undergone a restructuring over the past year, installing managers for each of the different sports that Coke sponsors worldwide.
No-one at Coca-Cola was able to specify details of Ruibal's role. However, he is expected to report to Scott McCune, vice president of marketing, director of worldwide sports. Neither Ruibal nor any other ISL executives were available for comment.
Soccer soaks up more of Coke's marketing funds than any other sport. The company has put its name on soccer world championships (now the World Cup) since the 1930s and its involvement with the sport today stretches from grass-root youth programs through to major competitions. In addition to World Cup 98, it is a long-term sponsor of the COPA America tournament in Latin America and of several national soccer teams such as France and Brazil.
"From a company standpoint we seek to be aligned to things that are very important to consumers around the world," says Ben Deutsch, public relations manager for worldwide sports at Coca- Cola. "They continue to tell us that they are passionate about football.
"We do business in nearly 200 countries around the world and the fact that football [soccer] is enjoyed worldwide makes it a very good fit," he adds.
Other sports that Coke sponsors include the Olympics, athletics, cricket and major professional leagues in the U.S. such as the NFL and the NBA.
Copyright August 1997, Crain Communications Inc.