PepsiCo, Inc. have announced “Team of Champions,” a national purpose platform building upon its global UEFA Champions League partnership to provide the gift of the game to underserved communities. The $1 million commitment over three years will make actionable investments on and off the field to help create transformational change for Hispanic and Black communities across the United States through soccer.
“Team of Champions” is supported by international soccer star Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez as he joins the PepsiCo athlete roster. In his first national effort partnering with Pepsi and Lay’s, he shares: “I’m proud to partner with Pepsi and Lay’s to bring the beautiful game to underserved communities across the country. From access to safe play, gear and equipment, to coaching and role models, ‘Team of Champions’ looks to remove barriers to the game that have become harder to move, particularly during the pandemic.”
The “Team of Champions” features a “Starting Eleven” comprised of 11 local organizations in select cities across the U.S., including Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, Detroit, Washington, D.C., Dallas, El Paso and Fort Lauderdale, that provide opportunities and access to the sport. PepsiCo donations to the 11 organizations composing this year’s “Team of Champions” aim to level the playing field with apparel and equipment like cleats and balls; field access; mentoring, coaching and education; and fan experiences.
“As one of the fastest-growing and unifying sports in the United States, we saw an opportunity to leverage our largest global platform – UEFA Champions League – and the game as a force for good,” said Esperanza Teasdale, VP & GM, Hispanic Business Unit, PepsiCo Beverages North America. “PepsiCo, along with our iconic brands Pepsi, Lay’s and Gatorade, is committed to making an impact in our Hispanic and Black communities. With ‘Team of Champions,’ we’re building upon decades of experience and commitment on and off the field to equalize access to the game and bring smiles and opportunity through soccer.”
“Team of Champions” is another step in PepsiCo’s Racial Equality Journey, which in 2020 saw the company announce commitments of more than $570 million over the next five years to lift up Black and Hispanic businesses and communities in the U.S. to address issues of inequality and create opportunity.
“Uniting people through soccer and sharing the joy of the game is something our brands like Lay’s, Pepsi and Gatorade have been doing for years. We’re excited to strengthen our presence and impact in the game, partnering with organizations to invest in Hispanic and Black soccer clubs, programs and businesses, with the ambition to drive long-term change and address systemic barriers in these underserved communities,” said Antonio Escalona, SVP & GM, Hispanic Business Unit, PepsiCo Foods North America.
In the lead up to the 2020-2021 UEFA Champions League final, PepsiCo will amplify community voices from the 11 organizations through a content series that will be distributed across broadcast, social and digital platforms to provide more visibility on the impact of each dollar donated. Soccer stars and cultural influencers including Santiago Muñoz and Jonathan González will support the program by sharing the stories behind the organizations within their home markets.