WNBA, NBA name Starry as official soft drink
The GIST: There’s a new designated basketball soft drink on tap. On Wednesday, the WNBA, NBA and NBA G League booked Starry as their official North American soda, weeks after PepsiCo launched the lemon-lime flavored beverage. The new offering will take over sponsorship inventory from fellow PepsiCo soda Mtn Dew.
The details: Reigning WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson will now promote Starry, as will other hoopers who previously inked deals with Mtn Dew. The drink will also sponsor a brand-new three-point contest at the WNBA and NBA All-Star weekends, where players will shoot customized Wilson Starry balls from six feet behind the arc.
- Starry’s other All-Star activities include debuting a new commercial during this month’s NBA weekend and activating at the WNBA Live fan festival.
The context: Since replacing Coca-Cola as the official soft drink of pro basketball in 2015, PepsiCo has successfully cornered the sport’s beverage market. The company inked a new $300 million deal with both leagues in 2021 and lured superstar LeBron James away from Coke the same year.
- The play? To attract younger consumers, which both the WNBA and NBA boast in spades. More than 30% of Americans aged 18 to 34 call themselves fans of the women’s league, while 54% follow the men’s equivalent.
Zooming out: PepsiCo may be targeting Gen Z with Starry, but the company is returning to a tried-and-true playbook to market its brand-new product. The strategy speaks to basketball’s ability to maintain relevance over the years and to the WNBA’s growing appeal within a coveted demographic. If it ain’t broke…