Special Olympics Florida Secures Coke Florida as Co-Presenting Sponsor for 2021 Sunshine Bowl at Raymond James Stadium

Company joins lineup of supporters for daylong flag football tournament benefiting Special Olympics Athletes

TAMPA, Fla., Sept. 29, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, the 2021 Sunshine Bowl – benefiting Special Olympics Florida – announces Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC (Coke Florida) has signed on as a co-presenting sponsor of the daylong football celebration, joining Raymond James and the event’s host, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This year’s Sunshine Bowl will take place on Saturday, October 2, at Raymond James Stadium on the home turf of Super Bowl champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Coke Florida is the local independent Coca-Cola bottler whose exclusive sales and distribution territory serves over 20 million consumers across 47 counties in Florida, including the major metropolitan markets of Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa.

“It’s natural for us to support the 2021 Sunshine Bowl, as it brings local athletes together on one of the world’s best playing fields,” said Thomas Benford, Coke Florida’s President and Chief Operating Officer. “Coke Florida is a local, family-owned business whose culture is rooted in supporting the communities where we operate across the state.  It’s an honor for us to support this day long celebration, raising funds for the Special Olympics Florida athletes and cheering on all athletes with an ice-cold, refreshing, Coca-Cola beverage.”  

“We are thrilled to partner with Coke Florida for what promises to be an amazing day of football, community, and inclusion,” said Brian Ford, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Chief Operating Officer. “We have a longstanding relationship with Special Olympics Florida and are proud supporters of the Sunshine Bowl. Each year, the Sunshine Bowl grows bigger and better while providing athletes with lifelong memories of competing at Raymond James Stadium. We encourage families and friends throughout Tampa Bay to come out and join in the fun.”

Throughout the day, flag football teams across Florida will converge on the NFL gridiron to raise funds for nearly 60,000 Special Olympics Florida athletes. This year, the Sunshine Bowl will include a daylong flag football tournament, a Punt, Pass & Kick competition, and a cheerleading clinic with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders. It will also feature a performance from Rachel Barcellona, the first contestant with autism to compete in the Miss Florida pageant.

Those 21 years and older can join a blackjack tournament in the Hyundai Club at Raymond James Stadium to cap off the day.  The events all aim to raise awareness of those with intellectual disabilities, promote inclusion, and raise dollars for Special Olympics Florida, which provides free year-round sporting events, health screenings, and leadership opportunities for its athletes.  

”We are incredibly grateful to Coke Florida, Raymond James, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,” said Special Olympics Florida President and CEO Sherry Wheelock. “These organizations have all stepped up to support our athletes and to help us build communities where people with intellectual disabilities are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.” 

For more information on the 2021 Sunshine Bowl and how to sign-up or get involved, head to soflsunshinebowl.com. The event will observe all required COVID-19 protocols.

To learn more about Special Olympics Florida, visit SpecialOlympicsFlorida.org

About Special Olympics Florida

Special Olympics Florida provides year-round sports training, competition, and health services to children and adults with intellectual disabilities, at no cost to the athletes or their caregivers, as a means to achieve physical fitness, self-esteem, socialization skills, and the life skills necessary to be productive, respected, and contributing members of their communities.  To learn more, visit www.specialolympicsflorida.org.

About Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC
Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC (Coke Florida) is a family-owned, independent Coca-Cola bottler.

Coke Florida’s exclusive territory covers over 20 million consumers across 47 Florida counties, and includes the major metropolitan markets of Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. Coke Florida manufactures, sells, and distributes over 600 products of The Coca-Cola Company and other partner companies. Coke Florida is the third largest privately held Coca-Cola bottler and the sixth largest independent bottler of Coca-Cola products in the United States. The company is also the fourth largest Black-owned business in America. Coke Florida was founded in 2015 and is headquartered in Tampa, Florida. For more information, please visit cocacolaflorida.com.

Emily Kruszewski