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PepsiCo Lands NFL Soft Drink Contract

From Reuters

PepsiCo Inc. fired the latest volley in the cola wars Thursday, announcing a multiyear deal to replace archrival Coca-Cola Co. as the official soft drink sponsor of the National Football League.

In what sources close to the negotiations called a five-year deal worth about $160 million, Pepsi-Cola will become the official soft drink sponsor of the NFL beginning in the 2002 season. PepsiCo’s Tropicana brand also will be the official juice of the sports league.

Neither the NFL nor Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo disclosed financial terms or the length of the agreement.

Football is the most popular sport on television in the United States, drawing an average 120million viewers on weekends in the fall. The U.S. also is the largest and most important soft drink market for Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.

Coca-Cola, the world’s No. 1 soft drink company, moved quickly Thursday to put the NFL sponsorship behind it.

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The Atlanta-based soft drink maker, which has been affiliated with the NFL for more than a decade, said it was turning its attention to increasing its marketing with 20 of the 32 individual NFL teams, as well as a large number of college and local football programs.

Coca-Cola is the official soft drink sponsor of the National Hockey League, the National Basketball Assn. and NASCAR.

Shares of Coca-Cola, which have gained about 20% since early February, fell 3 cents to $52.26 on the New York Stock Exchange. PepsiCo rose 45 cents to $51.50 on the NYSE.


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