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Steelers and PepsiCo announce new partnership; No more Coke at Heinz Field

For those that remember the old Pepsi Challenge, I know I do, well it looks like the Steelers have taken the modern day version of that taste test and have decided to switch up from their four decade old alliance with Coca Cola and will now be selling Pepsi products at Steelers games and events.

If you’re a beer drinker at the games then this might not affect you as much other than the munchies you you’ll be purchasing as Pepsi is also bringing along other companies with them like Frito-Lay, Quaker Oats, Tropicana, and Gatorade. Pepsi has a partnership with the NFL, which Coke did not, thus allowing the marketing campaigns for the two companies to explore new possibilities in a multitude of avenues.

Personally I’ve always been a Pepsi-holic so I’m pretty stoked about it, at least as much as one can be considering training camp starts this week.

As you’re planning your trips to Heinz Field this year or other events that involve the team just be warned that if you’re hard core Coke, no pun intended, then you’re out of luck. If you’re part of “Generation Next” then things are good for you.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette wrote an article today with some details of the new deal:

No matter how well Pittsburgh’s professional sports teams play, Pepsi now dominates the North Shore.

The Pittsburgh Steelers this morning announced a new multi-year partnership with PepsiCo Inc., effectively shutting off the tap on the Coca-Cola products that have been associated with the football team for more than four decades.

Meanwhile, the city’s growing collection of Pirates fans were already drinking Pepsi products at the ballpark.

“It was a tough decision,” said Tony Quatrini, director of marketing for the Steelers, who remembers the iconic Mean Joe Greene commercial for Coke in the late 1970s and had only good things to say about the team’s relationship with the soft drink giant.

But as the most recent contract expired, the Steelers opened up talks to both soft drink companies earlier this year.

Pepsi put together a game plan that appealed to team management, including bringing in the company’s other brands such as Frito-Lay, Quaker Oats, Gatorade and Tropicana.

Financial details of the agreement weren’t released.

The company won’t be selling cereal or orange juice at Heinz Field but the marketing team could put the Steelers logo on a box of Cap’n Crunch or do some creative promotions with Naked Juice.

The next time the Steelers win the Super Bowl — might as well plan for the big opportunities — any PepsiCo products would have full rights to celebrate the “Super Bowl Champions” because the company also has a partnership with the National Football League.

After the last Steelers win in 2009, commemorative Coke cans couldn’t use restricted terms like “Super Bowl.”

“The NFL is a key strategic partner of ours,” said Pepsi’s director of sports marketing, Todd Kaplan, said.

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