Since Deion Sanders’ arrival on the campus of Jackson State University, there’s been a buzz around the Tigers and SWAC as a whole.
Coach Prime brings a swagger and aura that’s needed in Black College Football. From ESPN now covering games weekly to endorsement deals being made, his impact thus far can’t be ignored.
The SWAC (Southwestern Athletic Conference) has secured an endorsement deal with beverage giant Pepsi. The deal is for three years, and that means Pepsi will be the main beverage sponsor for all SWAC football and basketball games through 2023. The deal itself also underscores Pepsi’s commitment to partnering with HBCUs and fostering Black talent.
PepsiCo's partnership with the SWAC "represents more than just the brand and partnership," Deion Sanders said. "It provides opportunities that we want to accomplish certain things with the athletes amongst the SWAC." https://t.co/EtBJVI9CIE
— CL Sports (@CLSports) April 5, 2021
This latest deal personifies the game-changing impact that Sanders has provides as a player and now as the face of Black College Football.
A pillar of the brand’s Racial Equality Journey is a series of initiatives and an investment of $400 million over 5 years to address issues of inequality and create productivity. Another part of the historic announcement is Pepsi will be committing to hiring a SWAC student-athlete from each participating university upon graduation.
“Sports are integral to Pepsi’s DNA, and we’re honored to join the SWAC family, as main beverage partners,” said Derek Lewis, president of PepsiCo Beverages North America. Lewis is an HBCU grad himself and says he’s proud to help foster growth among these students to prepare them for success. And to bring fans as well as consumers incredible experiences and memories.”
Again this in many ways relates back to Coach Prime, as he’s had a long-standing relationship with Pepsi dating back to his days as a Hall of Fame NFL cornerback in the 90s. His good standing with Pepsi is a reflection on his ability to reach across the table, transcend racial barriers and get deals done for HBCUs.
Sanders also mentioned how for years it was about him, but now it’s about the SWAC as a whole and he’s elated to see it unfold. Called it a beautiful situation to be a part of.
PepsiCo is a brand that is synonymous with a high level of quality. The company prides itself on being able to help Black communities and through this amazing partnership were extremely excited to blend these two iconic brands together” says SWAC Commissioner Dr. Charles McClelland.
I personally don’t know how the other coaches in the SWAC feel about Deion Sanders, and I truly doubt he cares, but one thing they’ll never be able to say is his popularity and recognizable stature haven’t injected some real life into the once dormant Black College Football spectrum. Next, I expect to see a huge TV deal signed that will have his fingerprints all over it.
The Coach Prime Effect is in full effect.
His impact on Jackson State and the entire Black Football landscape can’t be measured in just wins and losses, so don’t get it twisted about the history that is taking place.