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Volume 25 No. 87
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Coca-Cola Hoping BodyArmor Grabs Some Market Share From Gatorade

BodyArmor has enlisted younger athletes like Trout to be one of the brand's most high-profile endorsers
Photo: BODYARMOR

Coca-Cola is buying a minority stake in sports drink brand BodyArmor, and Coca-Cola North America President Jim Dinkins said that the company will "position BodyArmor as a premium drink above Powerade," according to Maloney & Lombardo of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The investment marks the "latest attempt" by Coca-Cola to "break Gatorade's lock on the sports market." BodyArmor has "marketed its products as healthier alternatives and enlisted younger athletes," like Angels CF Mike Trout and Rockets G James Harden, to "invest and appear in its ads." BodyArmor is "expected to have" about $400M in revenue this year and, based on recent deals, "could be valued" between $1-2B. Coca-Cola also said that the company's bottling system "could soon begin distributing BodyArmor's drinks." Meanwhile, a source said that BodyArmor has "informed Keurig Dr Pepper that it plans to terminate the current distribution agreement." A Keurig spokesperson "declined to say whether the company plans to keep its stake in BodyArmor" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/15). Trade publication Beverage Digest Exec Editor Duane Stanford said that the deal makes BodyArmor a "formidable challenger" to Gatorade and Powerade. In Atlanta, Anastaciah Ondieki notes Coca-Cola becomes the "second largest shareowner" in BodyArmor, which will "continue to operate independently" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 8/15). CNBC's Sara Eisen said the BodyArmor deal "shows Coke's strategy: safe, growth brands that they can leverage and put into their bottling system, take them global and put them on a much bigger scale." Eisen: "This deal does involve an outright path to own it so watch for a potential takeover" ("Closing Bell," CNBC, 8/14). BodyArmor investor/endorser Kobe Bryant tweeted, "Proud of our team at @DrinkBODYARMOR & our new partnership with the @CocaColaCo who believes in our mission of becoming the #1 Global Sports Drink. Thanks @Gatorade, we’ll take it from here" (TWITTER.com, 8/14).

CHANGING THE GAME: Yahoo Finance's Jen Rogers said BodyArmor is "pretty hot these days" with several high-profile athlete endorsers. Yahoo Finance's Daniel Roberts: "The new model in the athlete endorsement game is that companies no longer just slap a fee on an athlete and say, 'Be in one of our ads.' Now, athletes invest and they become both spokespeople and owners (and) they have equity stake in the company" ("The Final Round," YAHOO.com, 8/14).