Coke Bottler, Bobcats Ink Marketing Pact

ATLANTA Coca-Cola Consolidated, the nation’s second-largest bottler of Coke products, has signed an exclusive multi-year marketing agreement with the Charlotte Bobcats, the NBA’s newest franchise, making Coke the official soft drink provider of the team, the company said.

The deal includes exclusive distribution of Coca-Cola products at all Bobcats home games and the placement of Coke’s Sprite brand logo on the team’s basketball court. Sprite is the official soft drink of the National Basketball Association.

CCC in Charlotte, N.C., said it would produce a commemorative 1-liter bottle for the team’s inaugural season, which begins with its first regular season game Nov. 4. The bottler also will use the team’s logo on Coke packaging and promotional material in North Carolina markets. Planned promotions include a contest to win VIP team access, game tickets and autographed team jerseys.

CCC and the Bobcats said they also plan to help the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department finance the cost of refurbishing 101 outdoor and 21 indoor basketball courts.

Robert Johnson, the founder of BET who also owns the WNBA’s Charlotte Sting, is the majority owner of the Bobcats.