Pepsi announced Monday it is joining forces with the SWAC as its main beverage sponsor for all SWAC football and basketball championship games through 2023.
The deal also underscores Pepsi’s commitment to partnering with HBCUs and fostering Black talent — a pillar of the brand’s Racial Equality Journey, a series of initiatives and an investment of $400 million over five years to address issues of inequality and create opportunity.
As part of the announcement, Pepsi is committing to hiring a SWAC student-athlete from each participating university upon graduation, according to a news release.
“Sports are integral to Pepsi’s DNA, and we’re honored to join the SWAC family as main beverage partners,” said Derek Lewis, president of PepsiCo Beverages North America. “As an HBCU graduate myself, I am proud to help foster growth among these students to prime them for success – and to bring fans and consumers incredible experiences and memories.”
Said SWAC Commissioner Dr. Charles McClelland about the agreement:
“PepsiCo is a brand that is synonymous with a high level of quality. PepsiCo is also synonymous with helping our communities and through this partnership, we’re extremely excited to put these two iconic brands together.”
Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders reportedly played some role in the SWAC being able to secure a deal with Pepsi and spoke about his longstanding relationship with the company.
“We’ve been in a relationship for a long time,” Sanders said. “And this just takes it to a whole ‘nother level. Back in the 1990s, like every year, it’s been about me. But now it’s not just about me. It’s about us. And that’s a beautiful thing, man. I love it.”