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Harris Blitzer tries to crack US sports drink industry with Hydrant

Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, has entered into the $28bn (€25bn) global sports drink industry.

The Sixers Innovation Lab, a subsidiary which supports early-stage companies in the consumer product space, has signed Hydrant to its roster of diverse start-up firms. Hydrant, a powder-based product which dissolves in water, has been working from the Sixers Innovation Lab since November 2018.

According to a press release: “Hydrant boasts more than four times the potassium, 80 per cent less sugar, and 45 per cent lower osmolality than the average sports drink or hydration mix.”

The sports-drink market in the United States is extremely crowded and competitive, with established brands such as Gatorade, Powerade and BodyArmor dominating, so Hydrant faces a significant challenge just to break through.

Gatorade commands more than 70 per cent of the US market while BodyArmor has increased its market share from one per cent in 2016 to 8.6 per cent in 2019 thanks to a series of advertising deals with high-profile athletes. Last year Coca-Cola invested $300m in BodyArmor for a minority stake, which valued the company at $2bn.

“Hydrant will disrupt the $28bn global sports drink market,” said Seth Berger, the Sixers Innovation Lab managing director. “We are thrilled to have Hydrant in the Sixers Innovation Lab.”

Start-up companies working at the Sixers Innovation Lab – which is based at the 76ers Training Complex in Camden, New Jersey – receive up to $1m in funding, free food, housing, legal and business consulting, the opportunity to pitch leading firms, and access to executives from across the Harris Blitzer family.