SBD/April 11, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Pepsi Renews MLS Partnership, But Surrenders Exclusive Local Rights With Teams

Pepsi signs four-year renewal with MLS but gives up exclusive local rights to teams
Pepsi has “renewed its long-standing partnership” with MLS for four more years, but the company “has surrendered exclusive local rights to MLS teams,” according to Fred Dreier of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The deal, which was “negotiated by Soccer United Marketing and Pepsi, includes a renewal with the U.S. national team.” Industry sources “peg the value of the league deal in the low eight figures, but say the cumulative earning potential at the team level is greater.” Pepsi’s partnership with MLS dates to '96, the league’s inaugural season. Pepsi VP/Sports Marketing Jeff Dubiel said that Pepsi, Aquafina and Gatorade “will retain league exclusivity in the soft drink, bottled water and sports drink categories.” Dubiel added that the Pepsi brand will “also activate three new soccer campaigns this season: The Pepsi Football Club will promote 11 individual MLS and U.S. national team players in local markets; Pepsi will sponsor the July 14-Aug. 6 World Football Challenge tournament, which includes MLS teams and international clubs; and it will launch a yet-to-be-named grassroots campaign aimed at Hispanic fans.” Dubiel said that Pepsi is pursuing local rights with the Revolution, Fire, Crew, Real Salt Lake, DC United and Sporting KC, "which all have stadium deals with the beverage maker” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/11 issue).
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