Sourav Ganguly
Coca-Cola feels the face of Sourav Ganguly can do wonders to help the football scene grow manifold in IndiaReuters

Former Indian cricketer Sourav Ganguly has been appointed by Coca-Cola as the company's social ambassador for three years, a deal the beverage maker says will help in promoting the U-17 FIFA World Cup, 2017.

The 43-year-old is well known as a football supporter.

Ganguly co-owns Indian Super League (ISL) franchisee Atletico de Kolkata, and is often credited with bringing cricket fans to football.

Now, Coca-Cola, who are sponsors as well as partners of the upcoming World Cup, have decided to replace Sachin Tendulkar with Sourav Ganguly with the aim of attracting attention to football.

Ganguly is also the joint secretary of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) and a member of the governing council body of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Ganguly's current deal with Coca-Cola will run until 2017.

"Ganguly is on board and a part of the team that will lead our charge towards the FIFA Under-17 World Cup football 2017," Coca-Cola India and South West Asia vice-president, marketing and commercial Debabrata Mukherjee told The Economic Times.

"This could be a watershed event on the Indian football canvas.

"Sourav is a cricketer by accident and footballer by gene. He identifies with our priorities around promoting physical activity and well-being," Mukherjee added.

Coca-Cola has partnered many youth football events with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in the past and their collaboration with Ganguly will boost various football youth programmes. 

"Ganguly has also volunteered to be a part of the Coca-Cola Support My School movement - a programme that promotes the cause of healthy schools," Mukherjee continued.

The move has been lauded by industry experts as well.

"Sourav is on the IPL panel, he's a commentator, he's visible consistently, and he's on prime-time news. Brands want names that are visible and in the news. The move makes a lot of sense for Coca-Cola," said Shailendra Singh, joint managing director of entertainment and sports marketing firm Percept.

"This deal should give Coca-Cola bigger clout in sports circles — mainly cricket and football. Sourav has a clean, consistent image," another official said.