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Volume 2, Issue 4                                    University of Houston

The real thing

UH System negotiates $13M contract with Coke; new machines to be in place by next week

By J.R. Gonzales
Staff Writer

For the UH System, Coke is it -- at least for the next decade.

The System approved a 10-year, $13 million contract under which Coca-Cola will supply beverages, including soft drinks, juices and bottled water, to all System universities.

The contract means Coke will replace Pepsi as UH's cold beverage provider. Beverage prices will remain unaffected, officials said.

"This is an important agreement for UH, and we think it will be the beginning of a successful relationship with Coke," said Cindy Suggs of External Communications.

A committee made of administrators, faculty and students from all System campuses reviewed proposals from Dr Pepper, Pepsi and Coca-Cola. Dr Pepper did not offer an exclusive sponsorship, and Pepsi did not provide enough information for the committee's request for proposal, according to a committee report.

Committee members not only felt that Coca-Cola's proposal for an exclusive beverage sponsorship provided the best offer in terms of revenues, but it had the support of Coca-Cola USA and the Houston Coca-Cola Bottling Co.

Another deciding factor was Coke's interest in providing funds for scholarships and student activities.

A Coca-Cola employee unloads a Coke vending machine on campus Tuesday. The UH System negotiated a 10-year, $13 million contract giving Coca-Cola the right to sell cold beverages on all System campuses.

Pin Lim/Breaking News

"That's what made it very appealing, that they were willing to support some of the students here," said committee member Diane Murphy.

The November recommendation to the UHS Board of Regents was made after a year of discussion and studies on all System campuses, which showed a preference toward Coke products.

The previous contract with Pepsi only covered the UH main campus. Murphy said the new contract highlights the differences between the System today and 10 years ago.

"Now we're moving more and more to include all campuses in the system," she said.

Crews will continue replacing Pepsi vending machines with Coke machines throughout this week. New machines should be in place across the campus by the beginning of classes Tuesday.

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