AFL’s Bears Replace Coca-Cola With Sponsorship Rival

By iSportconnect | April 18, 2012

AFL’s The Chicago Bears have ended their long sponsorship association with Coca-Cola Co. by securing an exclusive sponsorship deal with rival’s Dr Pepper Snapple Group.


The contract is believed to be centered around a seven-year deal, with reports suggesting that this is worth $3 million annually, will make RC Cola, 7UP and Dr Pepper among the primary brands served at the teams games.


The new agreement will see Dr Pepper one of the team’s nine top-tier “Hall of Fame” corporate sponsors, where the Bears plan to open a new “Dr Pepper Patio” this season in the south stands of Soldier Field. The new area will include live entertainment, new food and beverage options and a lounge area among other amenities.


“We were very attracted to (Dr Pepper’s) marketing acumen,” said Chris Hibbs, the Bears’ vice president of sales and marketing.


Mr. Hibbs said the team had no intention of leaving Coca-Cola after its most recent contract with the beverage giant ended in February, but Dr Pepper’s strong demographic impact in Chicago made it a good fit.


“They really wanted this partnership, and they’re going to activate around it. They’re going to integrate the Bears with everything they do,” said Mr. Hibbs. “You don’t see every sports marketer doing it that way.”


It also marks the first exclusive beverage deal with an NFL team for Dr Pepper, which is better known for its collegiate sports sponsorships.