By Barry Janoff
May 24, 2012: Carmelo Anthony, all-star forward for the New York Knicks, has joined a growing roster of athletes who are part of the burgeoning category of sports and energy drinks made primarily with coconut water.
Coconut water sports-energy drink company PowerCoco said it has signed a deal under which Anthony becomes not only a marketing spokesman but an investor and executive vice president of innovation.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
According to PowerCoco, Anthony "will take on an active role [and] work with PowerCoco's executive committee on the evolution of the brand, product functionality and flavor development."
Anthony will become the face of the brand via marketing and experiential activation and will "utilize his experience as a professional athlete to spread awareness about the benefits of natural hydration." The company has unveiled initial efforts via such social media sites as Facebook and Twitter.
Sales of coconut water products doubled in the U.S. and Europe in 2011, with the U.S. market estimated to be $110 million, according to industry Web site BeverageDaily.com.
In addition to PowerCoco, U.S. products include Vita Coco, which lists as endorsers MLB players Josh Hamilton (pictured) and Dustin Pedroia, surfing champion Kelly Slater and award-winning singer Rihanna; and Zico, whose Web site features 70 athlete endorsers, such as Olympic decathlete Bryan Clay, NBA all-star Kevin Garnett and surfer Bethany Hamilton.
PowerCoco describes itself as "the next generation sports drink with a formula that combines natural coconut water and electrolytes, while also being low in sugar and calories." It is available in Lemon Lime, Tangerine, Grape, Tropical Berry.
"After many years as a professional athlete, I've become more aware of the ingredients I put into my body to perform at my best," Anthony said in a statement. "There is no question that the natural ingredients and low sugar formula of PowerCoco is the best choice to keep me hydrated on and off the court. I am proud to help introduce 'The Next Generation Sports Drink' as a part of the PowerCoco movement."
According to Steve Vasquez, president of PowerCoco, "Most consumers would be shocked if they took the time to realize how much sugar exists in other sports drinks. It is clear that Carmelo shares our mission for delivering a better sports drink to the market. The PowerCoco team is looking forward to the perspective that Carmelo will bring to our brand as more than just an investor."
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