University of Arkansas nears deal for return of Coca-Cola

A Coca-Cola vending machine stands inside a parking garage lobby on the University of Arkansas campus in March 2012, shortly before the university entered into a 10-year agreement with PepsiCo.

File photo

FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas is in the final stages of negotiations to once again make Coca-Cola the university’s exclusive non-alcoholic cold beverage provider, officials announced on Monday.

The university had been under contract with Coca-Cola for many decades before signing a 10-year agreement with PepsiCo in 2012.

At the time the $19 million Pepsi contract was the largest beverage sponsorship agreement the university had ever entered into. It included monetary benefits for the school as well as in-kind support for student-related programming and services, health and wellness promotions, campus enhancements and environmental sustainability measures. The Pepsi contract is set to expire on June 30.

The new contract with Coca-Cola will cover a 10-year period and will take effect July 1. The contract’s total value, including ancillary benefits, will not be known until final negotiations have been completed, according to a news release.

School officials recently issued written notice of an intent to award the contract to Coca-Cola, contingent on completion of a mutually acceptable agreement.

The partnership includes both the Coca-Cola Company and Ozarks Coca-Cola Bottling Company, said interim Chancellor Charles Robinson, in a prepared statement. Robinson said the new agreement will also benefit students in the form of internship opportunities and funding for student scholarships. Funding will also support sustainability efforts on campus, he said.

Beginning July 1, variety of Coca-Cola cold beverages will be available on campus and at sporting events. Products will include Coca-Cola, Coke Zero, Diet Coke, Sprite, Fanta, Dasani, BodyArmor and Minute Maid. In addition, Dr. Pepper and Monster brands will also be available.

Gatorade will continue to be the official isotonic drink sponsor of Razorback Athletics.