Interview with Brad Ross, VP Global Sports & Entertainment Marketing and Partnerships at The Coca-Cola Company

Brad Ross is Vice President Global Sports & Entertainment Marketing and Partnerships at The Coca-Cola Company, one of the most recognised sports sponsors in the world. The company was named one of the Most Attractive Employers in Sport by a report recently published by iWorkinSport. This is one of five interviews with top recruiters in the industry featured in the publication.

The study surveyed more than 1,500 people from all continents, with the majority already working in sport, and asked them a simple question: “If you could choose to work anywhere in sport, where would that be?” 

Initially, the respondents chose organisations divided into ten categories, and at the end, they indicated one single preferred choice, overall – the “Employer of their Dreams”.

The publication features rankings of the most attractive employers in sport divided in the following categories:  Football Clubs, Sports Teams (other than Football), Sports Teams in the USA, Sports Leagues, Sports Governing Bodies, Event Organisers, Sports Marketing Agencies, Sponsors, Sporting Goods Companies and Sports Tech.

Additionally, the report presents the aspects that candidates rate as most important when deciding where they would like to work.


Interview with Brad Ross, VP Global Sports & Entertainment Marketing and Partnerships at The Coca-Cola Company

Why do so many people wish to work at Coca-Cola?

Coca-Cola has been around for 137 years. We continue to learn from the past while at the same time innovate for the future. The combination of legacy and new age thinking positions us in a unique way that ensures modern day relevance while also borrowing from decades of learnings. Operating in more than 200 countries around the world also gives us the opportunity to drive scalable initiatives while operating with multiple communities around the world, something a lot of folks are keen to explore.


What makes Coca-Cola a great employer?

Through our networked model, Coca-Cola thinks globally but operates locally. Operating across 200+ countries, 5 beverage categories and multiple brands provides employees with a great opportunity to learn and grow across so many facets of the company.

Sports has played such an important role in the growth of the company and our brands over many years and will continue to be a growth driver for the business going forward. We invest in multiple sports and have incredible teams inside the company working on across our sports business. We have some of the best global sports partners in the world including the IOC, FIFA, Special Olympics, McLaren to name a few, while also working with many sports entities in markets across the world. Having the opportunity to work at a multinational CPG while also leveraging sports to drive the business is a dream come true for many sports marketers.


Normally, what are the opportunities (usual roles) for someone to work with sport at Coca-Cola? Do you have a large team (or multiple teams)?

We recognize that sports are communities, and that is why we are in the business of sports because we build communities.

The three broad areas we look at are:

  1. Partnership/sponsorship Management – generally partnership/sponsorship experts that manage the business with our rights holders. They have a deep knowledge of the sport, the industry ecosystem and the partner themselves.

  2. Sports Marketing – The team that works very closely with the partnership/sponsorship team to develop the holistic sports marketing campaigns that drive the objectives of the brands.

  3. Generalists – Teams within the company that don’t have a sole focus on sports but work on many of the sports related campaigns alongside our sports partnership and sports marketing teams.  

We have multiple teams around the world at both a global level and a local level that work within our sports divisions across the company.


For those considering applying for a position at Coca-Cola, what advice can you give to help them in their application? 

As a company, we focus on a few key growth behaviors (agile, empowered, curious and inclusive) and leadership behaviors (be the role model, set the agenda, help people be their best self) and culture as being lead indicators of success at Coca-Cola.

Having a love of sports doesn’t necessarily qualify you for a role; we want people who understand the “business of sports” how we create mutually beneficial partnerships at all levels from grassroots and Universities at the bottler/system level to teams, leagues and entities such as the Olympics, FIFA and Special Olympics at a global level.


  • Show a thorough understanding/network within the sports industry
  • Understand what the position entails and why you are best suited for it
  • Articulate a depth of knowledge on how sports marketing can drive the business growth
  • Provide examples/references of working with sports properties and brands



  • Assume experience alone is enough – the “hows” are as important as the “whats”.


What advice would you give to someone preparing for an interview with you?

Try and understand the role, the players and how it ties back to The Coca-Cola Company. Knowing why we would invest in the sport, and internally in the team to manage it, shows that this is an important element of the marketing mix and a business driver. Bring more than one dimension to the interview so that you can share why you understand the role.

A good predictor of future performance is past performance – be ready to give examples, with results, on work you have delivered.

Stay humble. Sports can be a very glamorous industry and does often go to people’s heads. Those that have worked in the industry, and managed to remain humble have a great advantage when prepping for, and going  through an interview.

Have a partnership mindset, focus on our customers/clients and service minded

Align to our purpose to Refresh the World and Make a Difference in our communities.