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Coke's deal with NBA collides with Denver arena

2/17/2005

DENVER -- You won't have to look far to find Coke in the Pepsi Center during next month's NBA All-Star Game in Denver.

Pepsi reportedly paid $68 million for naming rights to the
downtown venue that is home to the Denver Nuggets and Colorado
Avalanche. But Coca-Cola is an official sponsor of the NBA, which
allows it to be included in the league's advertising at the
All-Star Game and surrounding events Feb. 18-20 in the Pepsi
Center.

"They'll certainly have a noticeable presence in the arena,''
said Matt Bourne, an NBA spokesman. "In their deal with us, they
really focus on (Coke's) Sprite brand, so you'll see that a lot.''

In fact, one of the week's big events is titled the Sprite
Rising Stars Slam Dunk Contest.

Officials at Pepsi said the company will still have a major
presence in certain areas of the Pepsi Center next month. Coke
can't actually pour its products at the arena and company's
advertisements will be limited to the lower tiers.

The Pepsi Center has been down this road before: In 2001, the
National Hockey League All-Star game was in Denver, again with
Coca-Cola a main sponsor. Not only was Coke allowed to advertise in
the Pepsi Center, but the NHL barred the use of the arena's name on
tickets and TV broadcasts.