Sports News

Pepsi takes over NBA sponsorship rights from Coke

(Reuters) - PepsiCo Inc is taking over league sponsorship rights for the National Basketball Association, ending a 28-year partnership that the league has had with Coca-Cola Co.

Starting next season, PepsiCo will be the official food and beverage partner of the NBA, the Women’s National Basketball Association, NBA Development League, and USA Basketball, the company and association said in a joint statement.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Coca-Cola was the NBA’s official beverage sponsor since 1986, and Sprite the league’s official soda in the United States since 1994, according to the company’s website.

The new deal will involve PepsiCo’s sodas, as well as its Aquafina, Lipton Brisk, Doritos, and Ruffles brands. Mountain Dew will become the NBA’s lead soft drink brand.

The company will also expand the NBA’s 3-on-3 basketball program with several new fan and community activities, PepsiCo said.

“We have made the decision not to renew our global contract (with the NBA) at the end of the 2014/2015 season,” a Coca-Cola spokeswoman said in an e-mail.

Coca-Cola will, however, continue its relationships with individual venues, teams and players, the spokeswoman said.

The new deal is worth significantly more than the NBA's partnership with Coca-Cola in terms of the overall investment, Fortune reported earlier, citing a source close to the deal. (

Food and beverage company Tingyi Holding Corp, PepsiCo’s partner in China, will be the NBA’s exclusive partner in that country through its Master Kong brand.

Separately, Coca-Cola said it had signed a multi-year agreement with the United States Soccer Federation and Major League Soccer, and that it would be the beverage sponsor for the U.S. Soccer and the Mexican national teams’ U.S. tours.

PepsiCo has had sponsorship agreements with Major League Soccer since its inaugural 1996 season.

Reporting by Ramkumar Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Jennings