The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has belonged to the Pepsi generation for 22 years and hopes to keep it that way.

UNL will propose to the NU Board of Regents next week that it sign a new 10-year contract with LinPepCo, Pepsi’s Lincoln distributor, allowing Pepsi to continue as the university’s exclusive soft drink.

The regents meet at 10:15 a.m. next Friday at Varner Hall, 3835 Holdrege St. in Lincoln. The regents also have committee presentations that are open to the public at 8:30 a.m. that day.

UNL would generate about $1.77 million a year under the Pepsi contract, up from $1.63 million in the current one, which ends mid-year.

The contract gives Pepsi the designation of “the official soft drink” of UNL and Husker sports. This means that Pepsi products would continue to be the only pop found in UNL vending machines, soft-drink fountains, Husker sports facilities and other places at the university.

“We’re a Pepsi campus,” UNL spokeswoman Leslie Reed said Friday. Students may, of course, bring Coke and Dr. Pepper onto campus, but those drinks won’t be sold at UNL.

LinPepCo also services the beverage machines and owns First Choice Vending, which handles UNL snack vending.

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Pepsi owns Mountain Dew, Aquafina and Gatorade, and it has partnerships with Starbucks and Lipton Tea to sell their ready-to-drink products in bottles and cans.

Bill Nunez, UNL’s interim vice chancellor for business and finance, said the university uses the money it makes from the contract to support scholarships, undergraduate research, student recruitment and other items.

Pepsi also provides a quasi-endowment to UNL, which started in 1997 with $11 million. That money supports a program in which undergraduates work one-on-one with faculty advisers in research and creative endeavors.

A UNL committee of faculty members, administrators, students and staffers recommended that Pepsi be retained.

LinPepCo has had the beverage licensing rights for UNL since July 1997. The proposed contract allows Pepsi “exclusive pouring rights” for fountain and vending-machine products on the City Campus and East Campus, and certain sponsorship rights in UNL sports facilities where Husker teams compete.

“It’s incredibly important,” LinPepCo CEO Kirk Anderson said of the contract. “It absolutely is.”

Pepsi also has the contracts at Creighton University, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Wayne State, Peru State and Chadron State .

Besides a financial interest, LinPepCo receives the benefit of advertising on Husker scoreboards, replay boards and ribbon boards, as well as scorers’ tables at volleyball and basketball games.

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rick.ruggles@owh.com, 402-444-1123

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