First in Thirst: How Gatorade Turned the Science of Sweat Into a Cultural Phenomenon
What began in 1965 as the after-hours project of four University of Florida doctors, Gatorade has grown into an internationally renowned brand that today comprises 80 percent of the U.S. sports drink market it created. A lifelong Gatorade consumer and ESPN.com's sports business writer, Rovell locates the increasingly wide intersection of sports, business and popular culture, creating an account wide in scope, rich in details and sufficiently varied to keep the pages turning. Rovell's research pays big dividends in entertaining stories, relating, for instance, when Florida's head football coach, Ray Graves, initially allowed the doctors to test Gatorade, but only on his freshman team; or the late nights before games when the doctors could be found in the lab squeezing lemons into the concoction to mask its then-rancid taste; or Stokely Van-Camp's decision, when buying Gatorade from the doctors and their investors, to compensate the Gatorade Trust on a royalty structure instead of paying a flat $1 million fee, which ""turned out to be a boon for the doctors. Instead of collecting a couple of hundred thousand dollars each, they were to earn more than $30 million each over the next 40 years;"" and even criticism of Gatorade by those who assert the company ""overpromotes hydration in order to promote its product."" Throughout his account, Rovell reveals the many secrets of Gatorade's success, portraying the company as an ever-evolving pioneer that continually tweaks its business model to remain on top, a sports analogy to be sure.