The NFL and Papa John’s partnership ended Tuesday leaving a pie-shaped hole for Pizza Hut to fill. By Wednesday, the NFL announced Pizza Hut as its newest sponsor. Financial terms have yet to be disclosed by the NFL, however, the new deal reportedly included more money and is expected to extend through the 2020 season.
“The NFL and pizza appeal to the same demographic, which is everyone,” said Renie Anderson, the NFL’s senior vice president of partnership and sponsorship management, per ESPN. “Fans watch our game and they do it around a pizza box. That’s why it’s one of the most important categories in sports sponsorship.”
— Andrew Brandt (@AndrewBrandt) February 28, 2018
The news doesn’t come as a surprise. Amid Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter’s mishandling of the the players’ social justice protests during the 2017 season, sales for Papa Johns plunged and the relationship became too toxic to continue. Meanwhile, Pizza Hut’s sales benefited from its rivals decline.
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Papa John’s stock lost one-third of its value since last June, which founder and former CEO John Schnatter blamed on NFL protests. Meanwhile, Pizza Hut’s parent company stock, Yum!, grew 8% during the same time period. Now Pizza Hut is the new official pizza of the NFL. pic.twitter.com/yzD43cD28c
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) February 28, 2018
Papa John’s may tout better ingredients, but Pizza Hut remains superior in sheer volume. It’s 7,500 locations are twice as many nationwide as Papa John’s. The new deal begins April 1 and Pizza Hut will begin its new cross-promotional NFL campaign around April’s NFL draft.
Despite losing its presence at league events, Papa John’s retained its deal with the Dallas Cowboys and team owner Jerry Jones, who owns 98 Papa John’s franchises. One byproduct of the NFL’s Pizza Hut sponsorship deal should be Pizza Hut delivering more creative promotions of its product with NFL players during its gameday TV spots than it has in the past.
Pizza Hut is now the official pizza of the NFL and they already have the most electric commercial of all time pic.twitter.com/6TV6jFA3zP
— Barstool Heartland (@barstoolhrtland) February 28, 2018
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