Powerade has also suffered from supply issues since the pandemic began and frequently has been unavailable the past several months in metro Atlanta.
“Going after Gatorade’s market share, that’s a tall order, but (BodyArmor) is the kind of brand that can make headway,” said Stanford.
Since 2018, BodyArmor has been produced by bottlers in the vast Coke network, which also has distributed and marketed the drink, helping it grow.
Coca-Cola has made a splash with only a few major acquisitions in the past. The largest previous purchase was the $5.1 billion deal in 2018 to buy Costa Coffee. In 2007, Coke paid $4.1 billion to buy Glaceau, which sells the Vitaminwater and Smartwater brands.
The acquisitions are part of Coke’s strategy to become less dependent on giant soda brands like Sprite, Fanta and its namesake cola as some consumers shy away from traditional, sweetened carbonated drinks. Coke’s stable of other big brands includes Dasani bottled water, Simply fruit juices and Gold Peak tea.
Michael Repole, co-founder of BodyArmor, was also involved in the creation of Glaceau and its sale to Coke.
Kobe Bryant was an early investor in the company and served on its board until he died last year. His estate stands to make several hundred million dollars on the Coke deal.
Among celebrities endorsing BodyArmor are Ronald Acuna Jr., of the Braves, Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks, musician Carrie Underwood, tennis player Naomi Osaka and soccer star Megan Rapinoe.