Gatorade bottles

Gatorade will be the new sports-drink provider for UW athletics on a six-year contract up for approval Wednesday by the Board of Regents executive committee.

PepsiCo

University of Wisconsin athletics teams will have Gatorade as their official sports drink under a six-year contract worth $1.5 million in cash and product.

The Board of Regents executive committee will meet Wednesday afternoon to consider a contract between UW Athletics and Gatorade, the sports drink market leader.

Gatorade will provide UW Athletics with $600,000 in rights fees and $900,000 in credit toward its products over the length of the deal. The company, owned by PepsiCo, also will supply equipment as part of the arrangement, which runs through the 2022-23 sports season.

UW ended its agreement with Aspire Beverage Co. midway through a two-year contract because the Minnesota company closed.

The school launched a bid process for a new sports drink provider in May. Plans were reviewed by a UW sports nutritionist and a member of the sports medicine staff as part of an evaluation committee.

That group, according to the Board of Regents, found Gatorade’s proposal to have the best combination of product quality and financial support.

The athletic department’s two-year deal with Aspire, which went into effect July 1, 2016, provided UW with sports drinks and equipment as well as 10 percent of the net sales revenue of the retail product in Wisconsin. That was projected as $40,000 in the 2016-17 school year.

UW also was due to get products and equipment with a market value of more than $380,000 under the Aspire deal.

Aspire, which started production in 2012 and listed former Badgers hockey player Ryan Suter among its investors, was labeled as a healthier sports drink alternative in a market in which Gatorade is the dominant player.

Another part of the UW bidding process earlier this year was for a provider of soft drinks starting in the 2018-19 school year, and Madison-based Pepsi-Cola franchisee WP Beverages was selected to negotiate a contract with UW. That process hasn’t been concluded.

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Todd D. Milewski covers Wisconsin Badgers men's hockey and the UW Athletic Department for the Wisconsin State Journal.