BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) – The University of Vermont has sold near-exclusive rights to Coca-Cola to provide beverages on campus in exchange for $4.3 million over 10 years, the university revealed Friday.

The deal gives Coke the right to provide all the soft drinks, bottled water, packaged juices and sports drinks sold in vending machines and campus dining rooms.

University Vice President Tom Gustafson said UVM will use the yearly payments for student-related spending.

“The lion’s share will go into financial aid,” he said.

“I think we got an excellent arrangement and I think Coke feels they did too.”

Contracts like the one between UVM and Coke have become standard in higher education. The Vermont State Colleges and Middlebury College have deals with Pepsi. VSC’s deal is worth $700,000 over seven years; Middlebury declined to reveal the value of its contract. St. Michael’s College has a 10-year, $1 million contract with Coke.

UVM’s contract replaces a previous arrangement under which the school got a commission amounting to about $100,000 a year on vending machine sales.

“Well, it’s about four times more money than we made in the last 10 years,” said UVM Purchasing Director David Martin.

For Coca-Cola, the deal means a near-monopoly on the bottled-drink choices of UVM’s more than 12,500 students, faculty and staff. That’s a market for 50,000 to 52,000 cases of drinks a year, said Dave LaRose of the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Northern New England.

Coca-Cola also will get more visibility around campus. Tall, red Coke cups dot the tables in campus eating halls.

UVM teams must use cups, coolers and equipment featuring Coca-Cola’s Powerade sports drink trademark on “sidelines and players’ benches and in locker rooms for all intercollegiate athletic events on campus.”

Milk, fresh-brewed coffee or tea, cider, fresh-squeezed juice and smoothies aren’t covered. Campus convenience stores may stock competitive brands on 20 percent of their beverage shelf space, but Coke is promised the most desirable placement.

AP-ES-09-07-03 1654EDT



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