KO.N) is buying a minority stake in a sports drink brand backed by basketball star Kobe Bryant, it said on Tuesday, seeking to mount a stronger challenge to PepsiCo’s (PEP.O) Gatorade.Coca-Cola Co (
The investment in BodyArmor comes as Coke’s Powerade steadily cedes market share to its more popular PepsiCo-owned rival. Coke has also been rattled by falling demand for its fizzy colas.
The company did not disclose the size of the investment or other financial details, but said it could increase its ownership stake in BodyArmor.
Bryant is BodyArmor’s third biggest shareholder and also has endorsement deals with baseball player Mike Trout and another NBA star, James Harden.
In addition to taking a minority stake, Coca-Cola’s bottling system could soon begin distributing BodyArmor’s drinks, executives said. The deal would also allow Coke to later take full ownership of the upstart, they added. Financial terms couldn’t be learned.
PepsiCo Inc., and Coca-Cola’s Powerade. BodyArmor has marketed its products as healthier alternatives and enlisted younger athletes, like Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout and Houston Rockets guard James Harden, to invest and appear in its ads.BodyArmor has sought to challenge Gatorade, which is owned by
Gatorade still dominates the market, capturing about three-quarters of the $8 billion in U.S. sports drinks sales, but its sales have declined in recent quarters. BodyArmor has grown quickly in the last year but is still a distant third, behind Powerade, with less than 6% of the market, according to a Wells Fargo analysis of Nielsen data.
Like Gatorade and Powerade, BodyArmor is rich in electrolytes to help with hydration. But BodyArmor, which uses coconut water, is lower in sodium and higher in potassium and is marketed as more natural than rivals. It doesn’t use artificial colors like Gatorade or high-fructose corn syrup as a sweetener like Powerade.
“(BodyArmor) is a positive for Coca-Cola, which is continuing to pursue its product portfolio diversification strategy,” said RBC Capital Markets analyst Nik Modi.
The companies did not disclose the size of the investment or other financial details but Coca-Cola said it could increase its ownership in BodyArmor, whose energy drinks are priced above average and are known for using natural ingredients.
BodyArmor is also backed by Dr Pepper Snapple, now part of Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP.N), which made a $20 million investment in 2015 and boosted its ownership to 15.5 percent in 2016.
MORE ON THE GREAT KOBE BEAN BRYANT
Kobe Bean Bryant (born August 23, 1978) is an American former professional basketball player. He played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He entered the NBA directly from high school and won five NBA championships with the Lakers. Bryant is an 18-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, and 12-time member of the All-Defensive team. He led the NBA in scoringduring two seasons and ranks third on the league’s all-time regular season scoring and fourth on the all-time postseason scoring list. He holds the NBA record for the most seasons playing with one franchise for an entire career and is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Bryant is the firstguard in NBA history to play for at least 20 seasons.
The son of former NBA player Joe Bryant, Kobe Bryant enjoyed a successful high school basketball career at Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania, where he was recognized as the top high school basketball player in the country. He declared for the NBA draft upon graduation and was selected in the 13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft by the Charlotte Hornets, who traded him to the Lakers. As a rookie, Bryant earned himself a reputation as a high-flyer and a fan favorite by winning the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest, and he was named an All-Star by his second season. Despite a feud between them, Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal led the Lakers to three consecutive NBA championships from 2000 to 2002.
2004 NBA Finals, O’Neal was traded to the Miami Heat. Bryant became the cornerstone of the Lakers, and he led the NBA in scoring during the 2005–06 and 2006–07seasons. In 2006, he scored a career-high 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, the second most points scored in a single game in league history behind Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game in 1962. Bryant was awarded the regular season’s Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) in 2008. After losing in the 2008 NBA Finals, he led the Lakers to two consecutive championships in 2009 and 2010, earning the Finals MVP Award on both occasions. He continued to be among the top players in the league through 2013 when the 34-year-old Bryant suffered a torn Achilles tendon. Although he recovered, his play was limited the following two years by season-ending injuries to his knee and shoulder, respectively. Citing his physical decline, he announced that he would retire after the 2015–16 season.After the Lakers lost the
At 34 years and 104 days of age, Bryant became the youngest player in league history to reach 30,000 career points. He became the all-time leading scorer in Lakers franchise history on February 1, 2010, when he surpassed Jerry West. During his third year in the league, Bryant was chosen to start the All-Star Game, and he would continue to be selected to start that game for a record 18 consecutive appearances until his retirement. His four All-Star MVP Awards are tied for the most in NBA history. At the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics, he won gold medals as a member of the U.S. national team. Sporting News and TNT named Bryant the top NBA player of the 2000s. In 2018, Bryant won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for his film Dear Basketball.
Before starting the 1996–97 NBA season, Bryant signed a six-year contract with Adidas that was worth approximately $48 million. His first signature shoe was the Equipment KB 8. Bryant’s other earlier endorsements included deals with The Coca-Cola Company to endorse their Sprite soft drink, appearing in advertisements for McDonald’s, promoting Spalding‘s new NBA Infusion Ball, Upper Deck, Italian chocolate company Ferrero SpA‘s brand Nutella, Russell Corporation, and appearing on his own series of video games by Nintendo. He has endorsement deals with The Coca-Cola Company, through their subsidiary Energy Brands, to promote their Vitamin Water brand of drinks. Bryant was also the cover athlete for NBA ’07: Featuring the Life Vol. 2 and appeared in commercials for the video games Guitar Hero World Tour (with Tony Hawk,Michael Phelps, and Alex Rodriguez) in 2008 and Call of Duty: Black Ops (alongside Jimmy Kimmel) in 2010.
Aston Martin. The stunt was considered to be fake, and the Los Angeles Times said a real stunt would probably be a violation of Bryant’s Lakers contract. After promoting Nike’s Hyperdunk shoes, Bryant came out with the fourth edition of his signature line by Nike, the Zoom Kobe IV. In 2010 Nike launched another shoe, Nike Zoom Kobe V. In 2009, Bryant signed a deal with Nubeo to market the “Black Mamba collection”, a line of sports/luxury watches that range from $25,000 to $285,000. On February 9, 2009, Bryant was featured on the cover of ESPNThe Magazine. However, it was not for anything basketball related, rather it was about Bryant being a big fan of FC Barcelona. CNN estimated Bryant’s endorsement deals in 2007 to be worth $16 million a year. In 2010, Bryant was ranked third behind Tiger Woods and Jordan in Forbes‘ list of the world’s highest-paid athletes with $48 million.In a 2008 video promoting Nike’s Hyperdunk shoes, Bryant appears to jump over a speeding
On December 13, 2010, Bryant signed a two-year endorsement deal with Turkey’s national airline, Turkish Airlines. The deal involved Bryant being in a promotional film to be aired in over 80 countries in addition to his being used in digital, print and billboard advertising.
Bryant has appeared as the cover athlete for the following video games:
- Kobe Bryant in NBA Courtside
- NBA Courtside 2: Featuring Kobe Bryant
- NBA Courtside 2002
- NBA 3 On 3 Featuring Kobe Bryant
- NBA ’07: Featuring the Life Vol. 2
- NBA ’09: The Inside
- NBA 2K10
- NBA 2K17 (Legend Edition; Legend Edition Gold)
In September 2012, Bryant shot a commercial for Turkish Airlines with FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi. In the airline’s latest commercial, the duo competes to win the attention of a young boy. In 2013, Forbes listed Bryant the fifth highest paid sports star in the world behind Floyd Mayweather, Cristiano Ronaldo, LeBron Jamesand Lionel Messi.
In high school, Bryant was a member of a rap group called CHEIZAW, named after the Chi Sah gang in the martial arts film Kid with the Golden Arm. The group was signed by Sony Entertainment, but the company’s ultimate goal was to eliminate the group and have Bryant record on his own. The label wanted to capitalize on Bryant’s youth and NBA fame. He performed at a 1997 concert by Sway & King Tech and recorded a verse for a remix of Brian McKnight‘s “Hold Me”. Bryant even appeared on Lakers teammate O’Neal’s Respect, starting the track “3 X’s Dope”, though Bryant’s name was not listed on the credits.
Sony pushed Bryant from his roots of underground hip hop into a more radio-friendly sound. His debut album, Visions, was scheduled to release in the spring of 2000. The first single, “K.O.B.E'”, featured supermodel Tyra Banks singing the hook. The single debuted in January 2000, and was performed at NBA All-Star Weekend that month; the song was not well received. Sony abandoned plans for the album, which was never released, and dropped Bryant later that year. The Sony president who originally signed Bryant had already left, and Bryant’s other backers had mostly abandoned him. Afterward, Bryant co-founded an independent record label, Heads High Entertainment, but it folded within a year.
In 2011, Bryant was featured in Taiwanese singer Jay Chou‘s single, “The Heaven and Earth Challenge” (天地一鬥, pronounced “Tian Di Yi Dou”). The proceeds for downloads of both the single and ringtones were donated to impoverished schools for basketball facilities and equipment. The music video of the single also features Bryant. The song was also used by Sprite in its 2011 marketing campaign in China.
In 2009, rapper Lil Wayne titled a song “Kobe Bryant”. Similarly, in 2010, the rapper Sho Baraka released a song called “Kobe Bryant On’em”, which was featured on his album Lions and Liars.
Bryant is the official ambassador for After-School All-Stars (ASAS), an American non-profit organization that provides comprehensive after-school programs to children in thirteen US cities. Bryant also started the Kobe Bryant China Fund which partnered with the Soong Ching Ling Foundation, a charity backed by the Chinese government. The Kobe Bryant China Fund raises money within China earmarked for education and health programs. On November 4, 2010, Bryant appeared alongside Zach Braff at the Call of Duty: Black Ops launch event at the Santa Monica Airport, where they presented a $1 million check to the Call of Duty Endowment, an Activision-founded nonprofit organization that helps veterans transition to civilian careers after their military service has ended.
On August 22, 2016, Bryant and his business partner Jeff Stibel launched Bryant-Stibel, a venture capital firm focused on different businesses including media, data, gaming, and technology, with $100 million in funding.