Pepsi to Stay with Penn State Despite Scandal

November 17, 2011

The backlash from the Penn State scandal has taken it toll on the school but one major drink sponsor is sticking by the college. 

Pepsi on Wednesday said it will remain a sponsor of the school and its football team. “We are very concerned about the current allegations surrounding certain individuals at Penn State University, but will continue to honor our longstanding relationship,” a company spokesman wrote in an email to a Daily Finance reporter.

Pepsi has been one of the university’s largest corporate partners, and is ubiquitous on Penn State’s main State College campus and 20 satellites. In its original deal with the school in 1992, Pepsico paid Penn State $14 million over 10 years for exclusive vending and advertising rights.

Details of the renewal were not available, but the soda maker’s commitment is apparent. Pepsi vending machines are spread throughout the campus. Soft drinks are served in Pepsi cups on game day. And the signage is anchored by a permanent Pepsi logo on the scoreboard of the 106,537-seat football stadium.

The cola manufacturer’s disclosure that it’s still on Penn State’s team should come as refreshing news to the school: Its endorsement portfolio faces a potentially massive exodus in the wake of the scandal. pulled advertising from an ESPN telecast of Penn State’s loss to Nebraska last Saturday, and Sherwin-Williams, the paint company, removed its logo from the banner that hangs during Penn State press conferences.

Penn State football generates $53 million in revenue annually, CNN reported, and the entire athletic program receives an additional $24 million in sponsorships and merchandising deals.

Pepsi’s contribution is significant for a school that is looking to gain any victories it can as dark clouds descend on it for unprecedented systemic failures of oversight — if the accusations are true.