PepsiCo announced on Monday that it will become the primary beverage sponsor for the Southwestern Athletic Conference until 2023 in an effort to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
The three-year partnership is part of Pepsi’s Racial Equality Journey, a series of initiatives totaling $400 million to increase opportunities for Black communities and fight racial inequality.
PepsiCo Beverages South Division President Derek Lewis told USA Today that this deal “is kind of next level.” He continued, “The more attention that HBCUs get, the better it’s going to be for the students and also the communities. We’re going to be able to go deeper and wider in this partnership than ever before.”
The deal will include signage and naming rights, product supplies, digital and analog logo displays, as well as logo displays on 50-yard lines. The agreement will also feature cable and digital media advertising, advertising mentions in local TV and radio, and other in-market promotional and activation strategies.
Furthermore, Pepsi plans to employ select student athletes from participating schools after they graduate. This will include internships and full-time positions in sales, supply chain, and operations.
Lewis sang the praises of this initiative, as it is an opportunity for the company to fulfill promises it has made to “encourage the career growth of Black students at HBCUs.”
“It’s important for all companies—particularly those like Pepsi, with our global reach and massive footprint—to stand up for what they collectively believe in. We want our consumers to know what we stand for, and we know this is a step in the right direction,” Lewis asserted.
Sharing his enthusiasm is Southwestern Athletic Conference Commissioner Dr. Charles McClelland who said, “This partnership will also allow us a unique opportunity to accelerate the personal brands of our students and student-athletes and their ability to make all of their career and professional development dreams come true.”