LeBron and PepsiCo Team Up on Energy Drinks

    • LeBron James signed up with PepsiCo on an endorsement deal in March, leaving Coke after 17 years.
    • He will be the face of the energy drink Mtn Dew Rise.

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LeBron James has won four NBA titles with three teams, but he’s only on his second soft drink sponsorship — the King switched to Pepsi earlier this year after 17 years with Coke.

While James may eventually expand his endorsement to Gatorade or other Pepsi products, for now his assignment is to build up the company’s main energy drink: Mtn Dew Rise. 

“We know it’s a crowded category,” James told CNBC. “But we believe there’s more room.”

  • Global energy drink sales reached $57.4 billion in 2020, and the industry is expected to grow 7% on average annually. 
  • PepsiCo bought Rockstar, a major player in the market, in a $3.85 billion deal in March 2020.
  • Monster and Red Bull, which have marketed heavily to extreme sports enthusiasts, have the biggest market shares at 33% and 24%, respectively.

The size of the deal hasn’t been disclosed, but LeBron earned $65 million in endorsements over the last 12 months, and his lifetime deal with Nike may be worth over $1 billion. Pepsi, the official soft drink of the NBA, also has deals with Joel Embiid and Zion Williamson. 

PepsiCo revealed the debut Mtn Dew Rise commercial featuring James on Thursday. Naturally, it’ll run throughout this year’s NBA Playoffs as LeBron chases his fifth ring.