In the latest in a flurry of soft drink marketing tie ups and listing deals, Coca-Cola Co has extended its alliance with the National Basketball Association in the US for another four years. Coke has had a marketing deal with the NBA since 1986.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but, Coca-Cola is to unveil NBA-related promotional activities for its Sprite brand as part of the deal, which becomes effective in the 2002-03 professional basketball season. These will include a greater presence at the annual All-Star game and more activity on the NBA website www.nba.com.

"Our partnership with the NBA has played and will continue to play a key role in Sprite marketing," said Jeffrey Dunn, president of Coca-Cola's Americas unit. "Basketball has tremendous connections with consumers."

The last month has seen an astonishing level of activity in similar deals as the two soft drinks giants Pepsi and Coke battle for market share in the US. Last month, PepsiCo. signed an estimated US$160m agreement to replace Coca-Cola as the official soft drink sponsor of the National Football League. It also won the pouring rights on United Airlines.

But Coke has since struck back. As well as the NBA deal it has unveiled the pouring rights to delta Airlines and its five SkyTeam airline partners.