SBJ/February 28 - March 6, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Powerade bumps Gatorade from MLL sidelines

MLL
MAJOR LEAGUE LACROSSE
Powerade was attracted to MLL’s ability to integrate league, team marks in one deal.
Major League Lacrosse has secured Powerade to replace Gatorade as the official sports drink and sideline beverage.

Powerade’s two-year deal will kick in this season, which begins in May and runs through the end of August.
Financial specifics were not available, but official partnerships typically range from the low six figures up to seven figures. Powerade’s deal is thought to be among the more lucrative for the six-team outdoor league.

The sideline deal means that Powerade marks will be on towels, coolers and bottles of the isotonic drink. A package of at least six MLL games is expected to be televised by ESPN, and all of the games will be broadcast either via syndication or streamed live online.

The deal includes Powerade signs at the events and ad inventory on all of the broadcasts.

“This is certainly one of the most visible positions you can get when you’re watching one of our games,” said David Gross, commissioner of the MLL. “But this is also huge for us because we’ve been trying to get in with the Coca-Cola family for a decade. We’re obviously starting with Powerade and we hope this will grow into a deeper relationship.”

Sharon Byers, vice president of integrated marketing, sports and entertainment for Coca-Cola North America, said lacrosse made sense as a platform for Powerade “to reach the next generation of athletes. Lacrosse is a fast-growing sport, and we’re excited to be able to come in at the highest level with MLL and show our passion for the sport.”

Byers said Powerade was drawn to MLL’s ability to integrate league and team rights into a single package.

“The unique thing is that it’s one of the sports that you can own from top to bottom,” she said. “With a lot of league deals, it’s hard to break through, but with the MLL, you get it all, from the teams to the games to the All-Star [Game] to the championship. It provides you a chance to have a full 360-degree activation plan.”

Byers said that the activation plan still is in the works but that there will be media, retail and social media aspects to the program.

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