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Kobe Bryant Guards His Team in Battle Vs. Pepsi and Coca-Cola



In fiscal 2013, Pepsi's America Beverages division saw sales of $21.2 billion. Coca-Cola's North American beverage business unit saw sales of $21.6 billion in the last fiscal year.

With Gatorade, founded in 1965, Pepsi maintains a market share of 74% in the sports drink market. Coke's Powerade, founded in 1988 had high-single-digit growth in both volume and market share in the fourth quarter. Coke maintains a market share of 24%.

Between Coke and Pepsi, you'd think there's not much market share left for competitors.

But BodyArmor, launched in 2011, is still fighting hard. Drinks come in fruit punch, tropical punch, strawberry banana, mixed berry, orange mango and grape. Considered sports drinks by some and natural drinks by others, they contain coconut water, 2.5 times the electrolytes of competing sports drinks and are low in sodium.

Co-founder Mike Repole was behind Vitaminwater, a company that was sold to Coca-Cola in 2007 for $4.1 billion. BodyArmor's other co-founder Lance Collins sold the Fuze and Nos brands to Coca-Cola for $250 million.

Coke continues to see minimal sales growth annually and looks like more of a safe blue-chip play for its dividend and safety. Pepsi offers upside from its snack and food business and activist involvement. BodyArmour isn't a big enough reason to stay away from these big names yet, but is definitely worth watching.

BodyArmor had revenue of $10 million in the last 12 months, but is seeing sales double at a yearly pace. New distribution deals could bring this company to a $100 brand within five years. Founder Repole also sees BodyArmor becoming the next billion dollar sports drink brand.

The drinks from BodyArmor are available in 20 states, mainly found in convenience stores and colleges. The company says it will be in all 50 states in two years. BodyArmor can also be ordered online through Amazon.com's (AMZN).

BodyArmor also signed a distribution with drinks also-ran Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) that could be a trial run if Dr Pepper wants to take the brand on nationally for distribution. Another distribution deal is with Haralambos Beverage Company. The company, which reaches Orange and Los Angeles counties, distributes over 70 beer and drink brands to more than 10,000 retail outlets. Kobe Bryant posted a picture from a presentation with the company.

Will Dr. Pepper make a run at BodyArmor as an acquisition target to gain entry in the sports drink market? Or will Coke, with its prior relationship with the founders of BodyArmor, make a move?

Neither is a slam-dunk. Stay tuned.

At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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