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signoftimes
05-16-2003, 04:00 PM
Yao Ming signs international deal with Pepsi

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By Darren Rovell
ESPN.com


Houston Rockets center Yao Ming, who signed a domestic deal with PepsiCo's Gatorade in February, signed an international deal to market the beverage Pepsi throughout the world.


Yao Ming


The news comes after Yao's announcement Thursday, when he expressed his displeasure at Pepsi's rival, Coca-Cola. Apparently, Yao has seen his image on Coke cans being sold in China.

On the can, Yao is prominently displayed along with smaller images of two other Chinese national players, Menk Bateer and Guo Shigiang, all three wearing their national team jerseys.

A Coke spokesperson told The Associated Press on Thursday that the company has the right to use three or more Chinese men's national team members because of its sponsorship agreement with the organization.

Yao contends that is not the case.

"I have never permitted Coca-Cola to use my image to promote their products," Yao said in a statement faxed to the Xinhua News Agency. "I require Coca-Cola to withdraw all the products bearing my image and all promotion materials which use my name or images immediately."

Yao's presence on Pepsi cans, posters and television commercials will begin in China in the upcoming months. Pepsi also has the option of using Yao for promotion in the United States.

Coca-Cola owns about 44 percent of the U.S. soft drinks market, while Pepsi is second at about 31 percent.

"What most attracted us to Pepsi was their position as a world-class company with vision and dedication, and their desire to position Yao not only as a basketball player, but as a role model and a cultural icon," said Bill Sanders, marketing director of "Team Yao," a contingent that represents the All-Star.

Pepsi, which signed Yao to a multiyear deal, was also a key contributor in Yao's telethon for SARS, which raised nearly $500,000 last week. Pepsi donated cash, as well as autographed jerseys of its athlete endorsers, to a silent auction to raise money for the disease.

Yao is quickly becoming one of the most popular and highest-earning NBA endorsers. The Pepsi deal combined with endorsements of Gatorade, Visa, Apple Computer, Upper Deck, China Unicom and Sorrent are believed to be worth nearly $7 million per year.


Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at darren.rovell@espn3.com.

Drbio
05-16-2003, 04:51 PM
He should have picked Dr. Pepper. i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif

grbh
05-16-2003, 04:56 PM
How about Big Red i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif

LRB
05-16-2003, 04:57 PM
Maybe Coca Cola could use the Portland Trailblazers in stead. I'm sure quite a few of them use Coke. i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif

veruca salt
05-16-2003, 07:33 PM
slightly related,but more of an aside i guess...but this seems to be a trend with coke at the moment.
There has recently been a small fuss made in Australia over the fact that
Coke have put the lead singer of the Vines (Craig Nicholls) image on a can without his permission.
Hmmm...interesting.

OzMavs
05-16-2003, 10:48 PM
Yeah, but who listens to The Vines, anyway? i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif

DTL
05-17-2003, 02:18 PM
<< Yeah, but who listens to The Vines, anyway? i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif >>


are they as good in what they do as Yao Ming?

mavsfanforever
05-17-2003, 02:33 PM
Yao Ming does not like Men's hair shampoo either.

veruca salt
05-17-2003, 11:59 PM
<< Yeah, but who listens to The Vines, anyway? i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif >>



Yao Ming would probably love them.