Pepsi is going all-in on zero for the upcoming football season.
Today, Pepsi entered into a new sponsorship agreement with the NFL, with PepsI Zero Sugar becoming the league’s official zero sugar soda for the 2023-2034 season. The new designation is an extension of a longtime partnership, as Pepsi has acted as an NFL sponsor for over two decades.
Pepsi is leaning into the number to capitalize on a rule change for the new season allowing players to wear the number “0” on their jerseys for the first time in over 50 years. A dozen or so players have announced their plans to put on the number, including Philadelphia Eagles running back D’Andre Swift, who is partnering with Pepsi on a promotion to give away number zero jerseys to participating fans.
“With many fans expressing their excitement to see which of their favorite players choose Zero, the timing couldn’t be more perfect,” added PepsiCo Director of Sports Marketing Melissa Duhaime, said in a statement.
Fans interested in zeroing in on the prize can enter for a chance to win one of 100 jerseys via a dedicated Pepsi Zero Jersey webpage. For fans of teams who don’t have a player wearing the number zero, Pepsi is offering to create custom jerseys.
Pepsi is also bringing back its fan-voted Pepsi Zero Sugar NFL Rookie of the Week and Rookie of the Year program for the 2023-2024 season, while adding digital and linear content components.
The focus on the zero-sugar offering comes as consumers are increasingly moving away from traditional carbonated soft drinks in pursuit of healthier alternatives. In a recent investors call discussing Q2 earnings, Pepsi said investing further in zero-sugar beverages was part of a campaign “to offer more positive product choices to the consumer.”
Some consumers might question that designation in the wake of the WHO’s classification of aspartame, an ingredient commonly used in zero sugar carbonated beverages, as possibly carcinogenic to humans.