Darren Rovell | ESPN.com
Marshawn Lynch‘s run of giving Skittles free publicity is officially over.
The candy brand will announce on Tuesday a formal deal with the Seattle Seahawks running back, whose relationship with the product dates to when his mother started giving him what she called “power pellets” in his Pop Warner playing days.
While specific terms of the deal are unknown, sources told ESPN that Lynch will receive financial compensation. The brand also will donate $10,000 to Lynch’s Fam First Foundation for every touchdown he scores in Sunday’s Super Bowl.
The deal marks the first time the rainbow candy brand has paid an athlete.
To celebrate the partnership, Skittles has made limited edition packages of a “Seattle Mix,” a bag the brand will hand out this week that includes only candies of blue and green colors.
Lynch’s connection with Skittles, combined with the team’s success, has caused some Seattle-area supermarkets to run short on the candy on home game weekends.
That’s partly due to the fact the Seahawks have been giving Lynch “rainbow showers” when he scores touchdowns.
Delaware North, the food vendor at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, recently began selling the “Beast Mode” burger, which includes a side of Skittles.
It doesn’t stop there. A butcher in Puyallup, Wash., located 30 miles south of Seattle, is selling hot sausage links with Skittles inside.
Striking a deal with Lynch still could turn into a bargain for the brand. Last week, media monitoring company Kantar Media told Ad Age that Lynch’s presence in the Super Bowl could be worth as much as $5 million to Skittles.
As part of its deal with the running back, Skittles also will be auctioning off a Skittles-covered football helmet and football, and a Skittles-covered megaphone to honor Seattle’s 12th man.
Skittles doesn’t have an official deal with the NFL, but two brands owned by its parent company, Mars, do: M&M’s and Snickers. Skittles currently has the 17th-most popular Facebook fan page among all brands, with more than 25 million fans.
- ESPN.com’s sports business reporter since 2012; previously at ESPN from 2000-06
- Appears on SportsCenter, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com and with ABC News
- Formerly worked as analyst at CNBC