Volume 91, Issue 80

Thursday, February 19, 1998

warm buns


A tasty deal: USC wants refreshing change

By Karena Walter
Gazette Staff

Western students may soon be declaring allegiance to one soft drink only – and not just for the taste of it.

There is big money involved in signing an exclusive deal with companies like Coke or Pepsi.

University Students' Council President Ryan Parks told members of council last night that the USC wants to negotiate a single-source beverage deal with the university and independent consulting firm Spectrum Marketing, which has experience negotiating similar deals with other universities.

Early estimates are that Western could earn over $10 million from this type of deal. "Western, considering size and consumption, would be right up around there," Parks said.

The USC's plan is to put the money from a beverage contract into a student endowment fund. "We would direct resources into something very much needed on campus – student aid," Parks said.

A letter with the proposal has been sent to Western President Paul Davenport.

Seventeen colleges and universities across Canada have deals with single beverage companies.

Although signing a contract would eliminate competition among beverage companies on campus, USC General Manager Jim Walden said guaranteed prices would probably be written into the contract.

Walden said potential companies would have to evaluate the size of the market at Western and other factors before determining how much they would pay the school, adding the deal is good business sense. "It comes down to chances. You can get nothing or you can get a lot."

Council is hoping a deal will start as soon as possible and are waiting to hear from Davenport. Walden said the money used for scholarships would be a good recruiting tool for the unversity.

One of the Canadian universities that currently has this type of deal is the University of British Columbia, which also used Spectrum Marketing group. Ryan Davies, president of the Student Society of UBC, said the university signed an exclusive 10-year contract with Coke in 1995. The deal earned the university $10 million, of which the student society gets approximately $130,000 a year. Because the society operates all food and beverages in the student union building, which is about 30 per cent of all cold beverage sales, the society negotiated with the university for a separate agreement.

Walden said council would like all money in a Western deal to go to student aid.

A beverage company has not been chosen yet.

To Contact The News Department: gaznews@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998