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SCHOOLS HOPE THINGS BETTER WITH COKE; CORPORATE SPONSOR DISTRICT'S 1ST.

Byline: Karen Maeshiro Daily News Staff Writer

It's Coke over Pepsi as the official beverage of Antelope Valley high schools.

The designation didn't come from a taste test but a money test.

Antelope Valley Union High School District's first corporate sponsorship, negotiated by the district's fund-raising foundation, will provide at least $3.1 million over 10 years to fund special projects by teachers, laptop computers, student body governments and a Coke scholarship fund.

``I think it's a great opportunity for the schools to bring in some programs that we haven't been able to afford before,'' said board member Bill Olenick, who last summer proposed seeking greater use of corporation sponsorships to supplement district revenue. ``It's designed to benefit students, schools and taxpayers.''

The announcement of the Coca-Cola corporate sponsorship came at the Antelope Valley High Schools Education Foundation fund-raiser Saturday, which brought in $150,000.

Coca-Cola's offer was better than that from rival bottler Pepsi, but officials wouldn't disclose what Pepsi had offered.

The foundation's board approved going with Coca-Cola over Pepsi on Dec. 9. The sponsorship will go to the high school district board for ratification at the school board's Jan. 7 meeting.

The sponsorship will initially run for five years with an option to continue for another five years, said Jill Harris, foundation executive director.

The sponsorship will allow Coke to exclusively provide sodas and other beverages during athletic events and through campus vending machines.

The deal is designed to bring at least $3.1 million, Olenick said, but could increase with more sales of Coke products.

``This contract is essentially based on sales. It will be a lot more at the end,'' Olenick said.

Coca-Cola already was the exclusive provider of soft drinks at high schools under a three-year contract that expires in March.

That contract, however, was much less lucrative for the schools. The current contract gave the district $5,000 for each school and talk of a scoreboard that never materialized, officials said.

The new contract doesn't give Coca-Cola any greater exposure than serving its drinks in the distinctive red and white cups. There will be no football field named Coca-Cola Stadium, and no soccer tournament called the Coke Cup.

``They get their products in our kids' hands. What more could they want?'' Harris said.

Advertising in schools is nothing new. Local businesses have long placed ads in yearbooks, student newspapers and athletic programs.

But critics feel students are already bombarded with advertising when they are away from school and that schools should remain commercial-free zones with a focus solely on academics.

Nationwide, corporate sponsorships are becoming increasingly common and sophisticated as public school officials search for ways to raise money without raising taxes.

In Grapevine, Texas, outside Dallas, a company can pay $1,000 to put its name on a 2-by-5-foot sign in a school gym and advertise daily on a school television station. For $4,000 more, it can hang more signs on outdoor stadiums and schools buses.

However, Robert Hamm, director of food services for the Los Angeles Unified School District, said the system has not entered into any exclusive contracts.

Hamm said he was relatively new to the position and did not know if that was district policy.

CORPORATE SPONSORSHIP

Antelope Valley Union High School District Coca-Cola sponsorship

THE FACTS:

District's first-ever corporate sponsorship.

Coca-Cola to provide $3.1 million over 10 years.

Money to fund special projects by teachers, laptop computers, student body governments and Coke scholarship fund.

Coca-Cola receives exclusive rights to sell beverages on Antelope Valley High School District campuses.

Sponsorship goes before high school district's board for ratification Jan. 7.

CAPTION(S):

box

Box: Corporated sponsorship (see text)
COPYRIGHT 1997 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 16, 1997
Words:611
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