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Angels Switch to Pepsi at Ballpark

March 11, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Walt Disney Co. serves only Coca-Cola soft drinks at its theme parks but it’s switching to Pepsi-Cola at its ballpark in California.

Anaheim Sports Inc., the Disney division that owns the Anaheim Angels, said Tuesday it has signed a 10-year pact that makes Pepsi-Cola Co. the sole soft drink supplier at the major league baseball team’s stadium.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Coca-Cola had held the soft drink contract for the Angels’ park formerly known as The Big A but recently renamed Edison International Field of Anaheim for the past decade.

But Coca-Cola spokesman Scott Jacobson said the company felt the price of continuing the association with the Angels was too high compared with what Coke felt it could get back on the investment.

He said Coca-Cola decided against exercising its right to match Pepsi’s offer and keep the contract. Coke executives felt the money could be spent more wisely in that market a few miles away at Disneyland.

Coca-Cola is the longtime exclusive soft drink supplier to Disneyland and to Walt Disney World in Florida.

The deal gives Pepsi eight major league baseball parks where it is the sole soft drink supplier. Coca-Cola has exclusive soft drink rights in the other 22 big-league parks.

Pepsi recently unseated Coca-Cola with a multi-year deal to supply soft drinks for Shea Stadium where the New York Mets play, and it has the contracts at the parks where baseball’s two new teams _ the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays _ will play.

In addition to providing soft drinks like Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew and Slice, the deals give Pepsi the rights to have signs at the ballparks and to participate with the team in joint advertising and promotions.

Bob Wagner, director of advertising and broadcast sales for Anaheim Sports, said Pepsi was more receptive than Coca-Cola was to backing a wide range of promotional programs that the Angels wanted to conduct.

But he said the discussions involving the baseball rights were entirely separate from any of the other soft drink deals that either Anaheim Sports or its parent Disney have in place.

He noted Coca-Cola is the sole soft drink supplier for Anaheim Sports’ NHL team, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

Pepsi-Cola, based in Somers, N.Y., is the second biggest soft drink company in the United States after Atlanta-based Coca-Cola.

Last March, Pepsi signed a five-year marketing pact to be the national sponsor of major league baseball. As part of that deal, it conducted the balloting for baseball’s mid-summer All-Star Game.

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