The Pepsi Center launch is the first major professional sports arena to carry Ball’s aluminum cups. They made their debut with the Denver Nuggets' basketball home opener against the Phoenix Suns on Friday, October 25.
Beyond basketball, the Pepsi Center is also home to hockey team the Colorado Avalanche and lacrosse team the Colorado Mammoth, as well as other sports games and concerts throughout the year. The Ball aluminum cups will be used at all Pepsi Center events for draft soda and beer products.
Ball specializes in sustainable aluminum beverage packaging, and chose to design the new lightweight aluminum cups “in response to growing consumer preference for more sustainable products.”
This launch is in collaboration with Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE) group, and the two said the aluminum cups are meant to inspire good recycling habits and “remind visitors of the power they have to make environmentally friendly decisions every day.”
KSE has control over seven sports franchises, three stadiums, one esports franchised team, four television channels, an internet TV channel, 19 magazines and four radio stations, based out of Denver.
John A. Hayes, Ball's chairman, president and CEO, said "As a premier sports and entertainment destination in Denver, Pepsi Center is making a meaningful difference [in] promoting sustainability in its industry. At Ball, we've seen [lots] of excitement for the aluminum cup since launch, and we look forward to NBA, NHL and NLL fans in Denver experiencing them for the first time."
Expanding sustainable production and distribution
This batch of cups is part of a pilot launch that will produce a limited supply through 2020 for use in a range of locations, like entertainment venues and other major concessionaires. Ball is testing the response of consumers who demand alternatives to plastic cups.
KSE said it is seeking to reduce plastic use and promote sustainability in its venues, and chose to work with Ball on the cups because aluminum is recyclable and economically valuable. The cups are also lightweight, sturdy, cool to the touch and can be customized with logos and graphics.
Jim Martin, president and CEO of KSE, said "KSE and the Pepsi Center have prioritized sustainability efforts in recent years, which have brought improvements around limiting energy use and consumption, and enhancing our recycling opportunities is a natural continuation of these efforts."
"Introducing the aluminum cup option provides a more sustainable gameday and event experience for our fans and we are thrilled to be the first professional sports arena to lead this change."
Also this month, Ball began construction on a new manufacturing facility in Rome, Georgia that is specifically dedicated to producing aluminum cups. Ball said it will be adjacent to its existing aluminum beverage can plant, also in Rome.
Production will begin in Q4 2020, and the company will hire approximately 145 new employees to support this multi-year investment of $200m. Ball will eventually introduce additional sizes to its cups portfolio and expand them to drinking establishments, parks and recreation, colleges and universities, hospitality, restaurants and businesses.
"This product launch is aligned with our Drive for 10 strategy and is another step in innovating to serve unmet needs. Using our years of experience and specialized expertise, we are proud to provide both our customers and consumers with another environmentally friendly and fun option in our industry-leading portfolio of aluminum packages," Hayes said.