Major League Soccer announced on Monday that Diego A. Moratorio has been named general manager of MLS Canada, a new position for the league and its commercial arm, Soccer United Marketing (SUM).
Moratorio, who arrives from a director of marketing post at Coca-Cola’s Canadian operations, begins work on Monday, will be based in Toronto and will report to SUM president Kathy Carter. His duties include growing MLS’ Canadian fan base and increasing sponsorship at both at the league and club levels.
“Diego’s experience and expertise make him an ideal leader in the Canadian marketplace for the continued growth of MLS,” said Gary Stevenson, President and Managing Director of MLS Business Ventures, in a league release. “His appointment is an important part of the evolution of the league at a time when soccer in North America is surging in popularity and relevance.”
Moratorio will work closely with the Montreal Impact, Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC to support each club’s growth. All three teams have seen a 17 percent increase in average attendance and a 173 percent increase in sellouts over the past four seasons.
Moratorio will also support MLS initiatives with current broadcast partners TSN and TVA Sports. In January 2017 MLS announced new broadcast agreements in Canada, including a five-year media rights extension with TSN and a new five-year agreement with TVA Sports, the official partner broadcaster for the French-Canadian audience.
Propelled by record viewership of the 2016 MLS Cup – the most-watched title game in league history – the first year of the new broadcast agreement has seen impressive growth, with the total MLS audience on TSN/CTV up double-digits, including 25 percent among adults 18-34 years of age and up 15 percent among adults 25-54. A total of 10.2 million Canadians have watched MLS programming on TSN this season, and TVA Sports has seen regular season ratings grow 16 percent compared against last year’s combined French-Canadian TV audience.
Born and raised in Venezuela and fluent in Spanish, French and English, Moratorio spent the last seven years as an executive with Coca-Cola, and led the development for the company’s campaign during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil as well as the integrated marketing plan development for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.
He also managed the company’s campaigns during the 2014 Olympics in Sochi and the National Hockey League work with Coca-Cola Zero. Under the Powerade brand, Moratorio led marketing efforts for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and the 2012 Olympics in London. Prior to his time at the Coca-Cola Company, he spent six years at Procter & Gamble in Toronto, Mexico City, Caracas, Cincinnati and Sao Paulo.
“As a life-long advocate for the game of soccer, I’m honored to have the opportunity to open the Canadian office of MLS,” said Moratorio. “With the profile of MLS, and with the sport at an all-time high in North America, this new chapter in my career comes with enormous responsibility that I embrace. It is a privilege to help take the league and the game to even bigger heights in the years ahead.”