NFL Replaces Papa John’s Sponsorship With Pizza Hut

The National Football League is changing its pizza order.

After relying on Papa John’s to be its pizza sponsor for the past eight years, the NFL said Wednesday that it had called up Pizza Hut to deliver a similar advertising agreement. The pact is said to last more than four years, according to a person familiar with the matter – longer than the terms for Papa John’s final agreement with the league.

“We know many of our fans enjoy pizza while watching NFL games and we are thrilled to have Pizza Hut, an industry leader and one of America’s favorite brands, as an official league sponsor,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, in a prepared statement. “With a focus on family, friends and fun, Pizza Hut has the creativity we are looking for in a partner and we look forward to working together with them to make the at-home NFL experience more exciting than ever for our fans.”

Under terms of the deal, Pizza Hut gains an array of exclusive marketing rights, benefits and designations that will connect it with the NFL and its teams, players, events, partners, and properties. Pizza Hut is one of several chains owned by Yum Brands Inc. The partnership includes collective use of all 32 team marks. It also involves the NFL working closely with Pizza Hut to facilitate local, exclusive team partnerships. Pizza Hut will have the opportunity to leverage game tickets and unique fan experiences to all NFL games in marketing and promotional campaigns throughout each year.

The NFL’s previous pizza partner had started to get a little, well, crusty. Executives from Papa John’s openly criticized the NFL’s handling of the ongoing controversy surrounding players who take a knee during the playing of the national anthem before games in protest. John Schnatter, the company’s founder, in October blamed the protests for sales decreases at his company.  “This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago,” Schnatter told investors on a conference call.”The controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country.” He later apologized for his comments. The two parties cut ties as part of a mutual agreement, and Papa John’s has said it intends to focus on relationships with individual teams.

Pizza Hut has long advertised around NFL games, using pre-game coverage before the Super Bowl to prod viewers to order pizza and other bread-and-cheese favorites before kickoff.  Its first action under the new partnership will be to market around the 2018 NFL Draft, which will be held near its global headquarters in North Dallas.

“NFL stadiums are packed every week but tens of millions of fans are also watching the game at home.” said Artie Starrs, President, Pizza Hut U.S., in a statement. “We have an unmatched ability to bring those fans closer to the sport thanks to the power of our 7,200 restaurants and 150,000 football-crazed team members. The capacity for what’s possible is endless and that’s going to make this league partnership great fun for Pizza Hut, the NFL and everyone who loves pizza and football.”

Pizza Hut has been exploring new delivery technologies. It has introduced a “Delivery Tracker” that allows users to track their pizza from order to delivery, and receive updates via text message. The company is exploring beer and wine delivery in the U.S.,and in January announced a plan to explore pizza delivery via self-driving vehicles. Pizza Hut has more than 7,200 restaurants in the U.S.

More Biz

  • Honoree Yusef Salaam poses at the

    Yusef Salaam Signs With CAA (EXCLUSIVE)

    Yusef Salaam, one of the men who was exonerated after being wrongfully convicted in the 1989 Central Park jogger case, has signed with CAA for representation in all areas of business worldwide. The story of Salaam and the four other men — then boys — who were wrongfully convicted was recently told in Netflix’s miniseries [...]

  • Kim Kardashian West Kimono

    Kim Kardashian West's 'Kimono' Shapewear Sparks Backlash

    West announced yesterday that she was launching a line of form-fitting shapewear in nine different skin tones and a range of sizes. But the name of the reality star’s latest business venture — “Kimono” — is already wrapped up in controversy.Kimonos are Japanese robes traditionally worn at formal affairs, prompting some to accuse the businesswoman [...]

  • Discovery Corporate New Logo

    Discovery Faces Backlash From Unscripted Producers After Shift in Series Payment Process

    Discovery Inc. is facing a backlash from the unscripted production community following a shift in the cable giant’s protocol for paying for programming. During the past year, Discovery has implemented a new system that calls for the company to pay producers for shows after all episodes and related material for a given season have been [...]

  • Wendy Goldstein Named Republic Records President,

    Republic Records Names Wendy Goldstein President of West Coast Creative

    Republic Records advances Wendy Goldstein to President of West Coast Creative, label co-founders and chief executives Monte and Avery Lipman announced today. Goldstein has overseen the company’s Santa Monica office since 2017 as EVP of Republic Records. Over the past year, she headed up the label’s efforts for Ariana Grande’s  back-to-back No. 1 debuts for the singer’s “Sweetener” and “Thank U, Next” albums, and [...]

  • The Traitor

    MMC Studios, One of Germany's Biggest Production Facilities, Changes Hands

    Germany’s MMC Studios, which has hosted such recent international productions as Joseph Gordon-Levitt thriller “7500” and Marco Bellocchio’s Cannes competition film “The Traitor,” is changing hands. Frankfurt-based investment company Novum Capital has acquired the facility in Cologne, one of Germany’s biggest film and TV studios, from Luxembourg private equity fund Lenbach Equity Opportunities I. The [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content