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UA, Coke work on 10-year deal to serve campus

by Jaime Adame | May 17, 2022 at 4:11 a.m.
Cans of Coca-Cola are displayed in a grocery store Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

FAYETTEVILLE -- The University of Arkansas plans to enter into a 10-year agreement with Coca-Cola to provide beverages on campus, including at Razorback games, according to an announcement Monday.

The UA and Coca-Cola Bottling Co. are in contract negotiations that would finalize the deal. The Coca-Cola agreement would begin July 1 and would run through 2032.

The UA posted a notice of its intent to award the beverage pouring rights Monday. The university requested bids in March.

Pepsi and the UA agreed to a 10-year beverage pouring rights agreement in 2012. Coca-Cola products were previously served on the UA campus, including at sporting events, for at least 40 years. Fans of either soda product were passionately split over the change in 2012.

Beverage pouring rights cover on-campus vending machines and soda fountains.

Drinks that would be served on campus under the planned agreement would include Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper, Coke Zero, Diet Coke, Sprite, Fanta, Dasani, BodyArmor, Monster brands and Minute Maid.

Gatorade, which is bottled by Pepsi, would retain rights to be served to athletes during competition.

Separate rights are in place for alcoholic drinks that are served at sporting events.

The university had previously released to the Democrat-Gazette a heavily redacted copy of its sponsorship agreement with Pepsi, with almost no information on the deal's financial terms.

UA officials cited a state law, Ark. Code Ann. § 25-19-105(b)(9)(A), it referred to as the state's competitive advantage exemption, allowing for the exemption of materials from public disclosure when, "if disclosed, would give an advantage to competitors or bidders."

The past agreement with Pepsi stated that terms of the deal represented the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville's "determination of the Fair Market Value of the Sponsorship Rights and Benefits provided." In addition, terms of the past deal with Pepsi also included at least $2.3 million to UA in vending license payments, a potential sales bonus paid to UA, and in-kind product support.

Bid scoring documents show that the bid by Coca-Cola Company & Ozarks Coca-Cola / Dr Pepper Bottling Company was selected over a bid by PepsiCo.

Interim Chancellor Charles Robinson in a written statement referred to the pending agreement as including support for student scholarships and campus sustainability efforts.

Information for this article was contributed by Jaime Adame and Bill Bowden of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Print Headline: UA, Coke work on 10-year deal to serve campus


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