Coca-Cola announced this week that it is introducing Powerade Zero to the UK and insisted it had no plans to ditch Wayne Rooney as brand ambassador.

CCE claimed Powerade Zero, which will hit shelves next month, was the first sports drink to be completely sugar and calorie-free. Since launching in the US two years ago, the drink has recorded $181m (£117m) sales, and CCE predicted the British launch could be "equally as big".

Available in Berry & Tropical and Red Fruits flavours, Zero's healthy formulation would help it compete with more established sports drinks such as Lucozade, said CCE.

It contains minerals and sodium, which the soft drinks giant claimed helped hydrate the body more effectively than standard sports drinks.

Powerade's current consumer base competed in 1.8 billion sporting occasions a year, during which 79% drank water and only 15% drank sports drinks, said CCE trade communications manager Selena Taylor. "Out of the 79% who drink water, 52% reject sports drinks because of the high sugar and calorie content," said Taylor. "The introduction of Powerade Zero solves this issue."

It will be supported with a multimillion-pound TV and press campaign, breaking in October.

News of the launch comes as CCE pledged to keep Rooney, a former face of Powerade, as brand ambassador for the wider Coca-Cola brand, despite his alleged infidelities.

Dragon Rouge brand analyst Joe Hale said he believed the company would probably stick with the player. "Coke buys into his character and profile on the pitch, as it is this that influences the minds and motivations of millions of kids," he said. "He's young and will remain the centrepiece to English and Manchester United football for at least another five years. As long as he performs in those team shirts, sponsors will remain by his side."

CCE announced this week that Powerade would be the official fitness drink of Team GB for the London 2012 Olympics.

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Lucozade set for US debut as global push gathers pace (24 June 2010)