Madison Square Garden Switches to Pepsi After a Century With Rival Coca-Cola

Exterior of Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Exterior of Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Beginning in September, Pepsi will be the exclusive non-alcoholic beverage and snack partner for all MSG venues, including Radio City Music Hall and the The Forum.

For over 100 years, New York's fabled Madison Square Garden has been pouring Coca-Cola products for the masses at games, concerts, holiday shows, you name it. That all changes on Sept. 1 when MSG officially begins a multiyear sponsorship and marketing deal with PepsiCo, making it the exclusive non-alcoholic beverage and snack partner across the company's roster of venues, including NYC's Madison Square Garden, the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theatre, as well as the Forum in Inglewood, Calif. and The Chicago Theatre.

In addition to partnering with MSG's venues, Pepsi will become an official sponsor of MSG's sports franchises, including the New York Knicks, the New York Rangers and the Westchester Knicks, as well as the annual Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes and esports org Counter Logic Gaming.

With the partnership, Pepsi also becomes a main sponsor of the annual iHeartRadio Z100 Jingle Ball, held at the Garden at year's end. At a press conference at the flagship venue announcing the union on Tuesday, iHeart, MSG and Pepsi revealed Bebe Rexha as the first announced performer for its iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour. The singer performed three songs, "Meant to Be," "I'm a Mess," and "Empire State of Mind."

The first major concert under the new MSG/Pepsi partnership will take place Sept. 8, featuring country superstar Dierks Bentley.

"We are pleased to welcome PepsiCo to The Madison Square Garden Company," said James Dolan, executive chairman/CEO, The Madison Square Garden Company. "Both MSG and PepsiCo have built a collection of world-renowned brands, and have a passion for bringing people together through unforgettable live experiences. We are confident that this partnership will benefit our customers, as well as both our businesses."

The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Today's press event was attended by Dolan, PepsiCo chairman/CEO Indra Nooyi, MSG company president Andy Lustgarten and PepsiCo North America CEO Al Carey, among others.

The companies said on Tuesday that the partnership's lead brands, Pepsi and Mtn Dew (Mountain Dew), will be creating "high-profile consumer activations and once-in-a-lifetime sports, music and entertainment experiences for fans" at Knicks, Rangers and Rockettes events.

All of MSG's venues will feature Pepsi’s portfolio of food and beverages, including Pepsi, Mtn Dew, Gatorade, Aquafina, bubly, Lay’s, Doritos, Cheetos, Smartfood, LIFEWTR, Lipton and Pure Leaf iced teas, Naked Juice, KeVita, SunChips and more. In addition, the eighth floor concourse of The Garden will become the Pepsi Concourse, complete with a fan-gathering spot called the Pepsi Fan Deck.

“This historic partnership brings two iconic New York companies together and builds on PepsiCo’s strong presence in New York City and beyond," said Nooyi in a statement. "We look forward to collaborating throughout all MSG properties to bring consumers once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and to redefining fan experiences across music, sports, entertainment and gaming."

Until now, MSG and its venues have been synonymous with Pepsi's chief rival in the soft drink game. In 2010, MSG and Coke celebrated their historic, 100-year partnership by expanding the soda giant's brand presence across MSG's various platforms. Coke has enjoyed soda-pouring rights since at least the second venue bearing the Madison Square Garden name -- the current building, circa 1968, is the fourth MSG.


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