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Gatorade Dropping NHL to Focus on College, Women’s Sports

  • Gatorade is ending its partnership with the NHL.
  • It will focus more on youth and women's sports and the metaverse.
Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
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September 21, 2023 | Podcast
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Pepsi is shifting its focus from the biggest U.S. sports leagues to college athletes, women’s sports, and the metaverse.

Months after declining to renew its sponsorship deal for the Super Bowl Halftime Show, the company is making the same decision for Gatorade’s affiliation with the NHL

  • The NHL and Gatorade have partnered since 2006, with the most recent renewal coming in 2018.
  • “We didn’t want to overcommit in one space, instead focusing on reaching as many athletes as we can,” Jeff Kearney, Gatorade’s global head of sports marketing, told Boardroom. He added that the two sides “weren’t aligned on the financial commitment to renew.”
  • Pepsi did renew its partnership with the NFL across multiple brands including Gatorade, the company said last week.

Youth Movement 

Gatorade is shifting its focus to “young and diverse athlete communities [and] cutting-edge leagues,” according to Kearney. 

He cited the brand’s NIL deals with University of Connecticut basketball star Paige Bueckers and Jackson State quarterback Shedeur Sanders, as well as Gatorade’s status as founding partners of Overtime Elite and Angel City Football Club.

Kearney also hinted at coming announcements on Gatorade’s entrance into fantasy sports and Web3 technologies including the metaverse.

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