Jun 23, 2011 at 04:55 PM
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Finally... NFL Players Inc Fills The Coconut Water Category

"The NFL season may be on hold, but training for the professional football players hasn't stopped," the press release reads for the NFL Players Association latest sponsor. Zico Pure Premium Coconut Water is the new official coconut water of professional football players. As part of the deal, the brand is offering every NFL player complimentary Zico to help them stay hydrated and perform at their best during "this intense training period."

Zico, which is part owned by Coca-Cola, Zico will have a unique presence at NFL Players events, in its social media platforms, and gain direct access to NFL players. The coconut water category, while still nascent in North America, had by some estimates approximately $70 million in sales in the U.S. in 2010.

"We are proud to support professional football players through our new partnership with NFL PLAYERS Inc.," said Mark Rampolla, CEO and founder of ZICO. "We have had a lengthy roster of A-list athletes either investing, endorsing or supporting ZICO over the years. They have chosen ZICO because it naturally has up to 50 percent fewer calories and less sugar than other flavored coconut waters and our ZICO bottles have a better blend of electrolytes to optimize hydration benefits for these athletes. Plus, unlike other sports drinks, ZICO is all-natural and has up to 15 times more potassium to help prevent cramping and aid recovery during training."

Zico has an impressive group of athlete investors already involved in the company including Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics; Amar'e Stoudemire of the New York Knicks; and Rip Hamilton of the Detroit Pistons.

Zico's main competitor is Vita Coco, which had $40 million in 2010 sales, and is distributed through Dr Pepper Snapple Group.