Coffee brands should capitalize on growth in women's sports
The GIST: As America's most popular drink, coffee sells itself — but recent investments are proving there's room for the industry’s growth in sports. The latest buzz shows how coffee brands can capitalize on its demand among fans and athletes, especially in women's soccer. Football is life, but so is coffee.
The latest: Beekeeper Coffee plans to be the newest player in the game by creating a ready-to-drink coffee line that features a drop of honey in every drink. Beekeeper's ownership group includes industry veterans like Klutch Sports, SpringHill Company, Nike, and Forbes. The brand wants to bring a "new voice" to coffee, but it’s not the only one to see an untapped market.
The trend: Although Joe DiMaggio was Mr. Coffee in the 1970s, coffee brand sponsorships have recently branched into burgeoning sports markets, including golf, pickleball, and F1. More specifically, speciality roasters are starting to team up with athlete ambassadors and investors as the drink appeals to a health-conscious lifestyle.
- Jimmy Butler was entrepreneurial during the 2020 NBA bubble, turning $20 cups of brew into his Big Face brand. Alex Rodriguez and Serena Williams have also dipped into the coffee market, while Dikembe Mutombo's Mutombo Coffee gives a whole new meaning to the basketball legend's signature roast.
The activations: The USWNT has a well-documented coffee obsession, which FanDuel played into through its Extra Kick Coffee campaign with women-owned North Edge Craft Coffee and former star Carli Lloyd during the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup (WWC). Slam some coffee and send the vibes.
- Other companies took note of the craze, as Nike provided the WWC team with a $2.8K coffee printer for custom lattes and D.C.'s Café Unido employed Alex Morgan and Kelley O'Hara as secret baristas in 2022.
- Individual NWSL clubs have landed local coffee-fueled partnerships, such as OL Reign's relationship with Starbucks, the Portland Thorns' partnership with Dutch Bros., and the North Carolina Courage's 2020 collab with Larry's Coffee.
The companies: While some American players revel in the coffee-soccer connection, others are profiting off of it. Kickoff Coffee Co. — founded by former pro footballer Melissa Ortiz — intentionally blends the two. Ortiz briefly played for the Boston Breakers alongside Heather O'Reilly, who returned to her UNC roots by investing in Carolina Coffee Shop in 2018.
Zooming out: Combining the world's game and the most popular drink makes dollars and sense, but there's more to it than caffeine. USWNTer Sofia Huerta described how getting coffee brings the team together socially, something the drink has done globally for centuries.