UA nears deal to bring back Coca-Cola

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,552 views 

The University of Arkansas announced Monday (May 15) that it is in the final stages of negotiations to make Atlanta-based Coca-Cola the university’s exclusive non-alcoholic cold beverage sponsor and provider.

According to a UA news release, the university has issued written notice of its intent to award the contract to Coca-Cola. The 10-year deal would take effect July 1. The current 10-year agreement with PepsiCo ends on June 30. Before that deal, Coca-Cola was the beverage provider for the UA for decades.

“We are glad to have the opportunity to partner with The Coca-Cola Company and Ozarks Coca-Cola Bottling Company to bring Coke products to our campus and athletic events,” interim Chancellor Charles Robinson said in a statement. “It’s important to point out that this new agreement will also benefit our students in the form of internship opportunities and funding for student scholarships. Funding will also support sustainability efforts on campus. I’m grateful to the evaluation committee and to all those at the university who have played a role in establishing this new partnership.”

According to the news release, once the deal is finalized, the Coca-Cola agreement will consist of an initial fixed-length term and a series of annual renewal options through June 2032.

Final negotiations will determine the contract’s total value, including ancillary benefits.

Along with supplying campus dining facilities and vending machines, all Razorback athletic venues will serve Coca-Cola products.

“For decades, fans cheered on the Razorbacks while enjoying a beverage from Coca-Cola,” UA athletics director Hunter Yurachek said. “With this new partnership, students, faculty, staff members and fans will once again have access to a variety of Coca-Cola products whether they are attending class, visiting campus or ‘Calling the Hogs’ at one of our athletics venues. We are appreciative of the investment Ozarks Coca-Cola and The Coca-Cola Company have made in the future of our university and the continued success of Razorback Athletics.”

Missouri-based Ozarks Coca-Cola Co. is a family-owned independent bottling company founded in 1920. The company acquired the Northwest Arkansas territory in 2016.

“The Ozarks Coca-Cola family along with The Coca-Cola Company are honored to bring that special Coca-Cola refreshment back to the University of Arkansas,” said Sally Hargis, chairman of the board for Ozarks Coca-Cola Bottling Co. “We understand the strength of Razorback nation and what the university means to our surrounding community. We are excited to show our commitment to the University through strong work ethic, pride, professionalism, and tireless service to students, fans, faculty, staff, and guests.