SWAC, with assist from Jackson State coach Deion Sanders, lands deal with Pepsi as part of racial equality initiative

JACKSON, Miss. — It is hardly a coincidence that as Deion Sanders works to revitalize the football program at Jackson State, a long-term partner has joined forces with the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) as a major sponsor.

Pepsi announced on Monday it has become the primary beverage sponsor for all SWAC football and basketball championship games through 2023. The three-year deal, according to the company, is a component of the brand’s Racial Equality Journey, a series of initiatives the corporation launched in April 2020 with a pledge of $400 million over five years.

Sanders, the Pro Football Hall of Fame cornerback who has served as a spokesman for Pepsi since the mid-1990s, played a behind-the-scenes role in aligning the beverage powerhouse with the SWAC. 

“We’ve been in a relationship for a long time,” Sanders told USA TODAY Sports, referring to his connection with Pepsi. “And this just takes it to a whole ‘nother level. Back in the 1990s, like every year, it’s been about me. But now it’s not just about me. It’s about us. And that’s a beautiful thing, man. I love it.” 

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