UF still profiting from Gatorade


Published: Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 9, 2009 at 11:57 p.m.

The University of Florida and Gatorade's inventors are in no danger of losing royalty payments from Gatorade's new "G" campaign or any future branding efforts, UF and Gatorade officials say.

Terms of the royalty agreements are confidential, but UF spokesman Steve Orlando said the university's general counsel assured him there is no concern of losing the royalties.

"The product in the bottle is Gatorade and the (inventors') trust and the University of Florida will continue to receive payments for the product," said Pete Brace, Gatorade spokesman.

UF has received $12 million a year in recent years from its 20 percent share of the trademark royalties and more than $150 million over the life of the agreement. Gatorade is owned by PepsiCo.

Gatorade recently repackaged and renamed its drinks, with its signature drink showing a "G" over a bolt and the name Gatorade in small letters.

The change has upset the family of the late Dr. Robert Cade, the lead inventor, who started developing the drink in 1965 to help the UF football team stay hydrated. His widow, Mary Cade, said he would have been upset by it, and she questioned how people would find it on the shelf.

"Gatorade is shaking things up on purpose and connecting to a broader range of athletes and active people with new enhanced beverages and advertising to allow others to see themselves in the brand," Brace said. "Any iconic brand refreshes and contemporizes from time to time, and that's what we're doing."

Gatorade Fierce is now Bring It, Gatorade X-Factor is Be Tough, Gatorade AM became Shine On, Gatorade Rain is No Excuses and Gatorade Tiger is Focus.

Gary Hemphill, managing director of the Beverage Marketing Corp., said Gatorade has done a good job of broadening its demographics from athletes to any active lifestyle consumer.

"They're trying to reinvigorate the brand and get consumers to focus on it and generate news and excitement for the brand," he said.

At the same time, Gatorade has nearly an 80 percent market share among sports drinks and is a big money maker for PepsiCo, so they have to be extra careful with any changes, he said.

"The Gatorade brand has value, and I would think it would take some time to transition to something different," Hemphill said.

Brace said sports drink sales overall have softened, but Gatorade's market share has grown.

Contact Anthony Clark at anthony.clark@gvillesun.com or 352-374-5094.

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