Kingsport Times News Tuesday, September 23, 2014

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D-B, stadium switching to Pepsi

July 23rd, 2014 5:06 pm by Rick Wagner

D-B, stadium switching to Pepsi

David Grace photo.

KINGSPORT — A marked shift is coming to the city's high school football stadium this fall, and also to the rest of the campus.

After a decade of being a Coca-Cola operation, J. Fred Johnson Stadium and Dobyns-Bennett High School are switching to Pepsi-Cola for at least three years.

But in case you were wondering, the Coke baseball scoreboard in the stadium will remain with the blessings of both Pepsi and Coke. So will ice machines and some other equipment Coke provided under the expired contract, the school principal said.

Another potential effect: He said bottled Starbucks drinks may be available at sporting events.

The Board of Education Tuesday night got an update on the switch and three-year contract, which already has been approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

D-B Principal Chris Hampton and Athletic Director Cary Daniels gave details of the switch and the reasoning behind it to the board.

"You don't know the public response. You're either one or the other," BOE member Randy Montgomery said of public preference for Coke or Pepsi.

No other beverage provider bid on the contract that covers vending machines inside the school as well as drinks served in the concessions stands of the stadium and elsewhere in the building.

For a copy of the agreement, go to http://kingsport.schoolfusion.us/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/940474/File/BOE%20Meeting%20Notes/2014%20Supporting%20Documents/7-22%201148_001.pdf.

For a copy of the contract, go to http://kingsport.schoolfusion.us/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/940474/File/BOE%20Meeting%20Notes/2014%20Supporting%20Documents/7-22%202014%20DOBYNS%20BENNET%20HS%203%20yr%20Exclusive%20FSV%20contract%20proposal.pdf.

Hampton said the contract, with PepsiCo through the Pepsi bottler in Johnson City, includes vending of zero-calorie drinks inside the building during the school day. Juices with up to 10 calories per ounce are also allowed by the federal government but will not be permitted in the vending machines, he said.

Initially, he said that only water and flavored water would be in the vending machines but that eventually diet soft drinks, which are allowed under federal rules, also may be in the vending machines.

For concessions in the stadium, however, he said the full range of available products could be available, including soft drinks, Gatorade, juices and a bottled Starbucks coffee line. However, he said no energy drinks — usually high in caffeine and sugar — would be allowed in concessions.

Based on last school year's sales of Coke products, Hampton said the estimated revenue for 2014-15 is $64,700, with three-year sales projected at more than $194,000 or about $16,000 less revenue that would have been provided with the Coke bid.

The revenue from concessions will go into the athletic budget, while the vending revenue will go into the general office account, Hampton said.

The principal said the school will get discounts on purchased beverages and a rebate on bulk purchases for the concessions.

He said the contract covers four beverage vending machines inside the building, concession stands and coolers on the sidelines of the football field.

Aside from the financial incentive of the Pepsi contract, Hampton said Pepsi offered dozens of zero-calorie options for the vending machines, compared to only four from Coke.

He said that the Pepsi vending machines were more energy efficient than Coke's and also would take debit or credit cards that the Coke machines would not.

Initially, he said, Coke officials indicated ice machines and other concessions equipment under the old Coke contract would be removed, but he said they later said the school could keep them. He said at least one ice machine, however, needs replacing soon and revenues from the concessions would pay for that.

Daniels said that Pepsi's offer to make banners for team achievements up to four times a year likely would be limited to something like winning a state championship and would not carry a large Pepsi logo.

Superintendent Lyle Ailshie said soft drink companies no longer provide scoreboards and equipment to schools like they did 15 years ago, and Hampton said no large Pepsi signs would be going up in the stadium.

The stadium is getting a new football scoreboard with a screen not funded by Pepsi or Coke.

All events at D-B, including the Robinson-Sevier middle schools football game, must serve Pepsi products, but that does not apply to events at the middle schools.

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