The company now has the title of Official Pizza Sponsor of the NFL, which is a “multi-year agreement,” though it remains unclear for exactly how long. For now, Pizza Hut will have access to exclusive marketing rights for the NFL and its teams, players, events, and so on.
“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,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a 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.”
“Pizza Hut has a history of bringing more entertaining food and experiences to the pizza occasion and we plan to continue that through our exclusive partnership with the NFL,” Artie Starrs, Pizza Hut’s U.S. president said in a statement. “NFL stadiums are packed every week but tens of millions of fans are also watching the game at home. We have an unmatched ability to bring those fans closer to the sport thanks to the power of our 7,500 restaurants and 150,000 football-crazed team members. The capacity for what’s possible is endless.”
The new sponsorship comes nearly four months after Papa John’s founder (and then-CEO) John Schnatter said that NFL players who kneeled or protested during the national anthem were hampering the company’s sales.
Schnatter apologized for his remarks just under two weeks later and stepped down as CEO on Jan. 1.
Following news of Papa John’s ended partnership with the NFL, along with a fourth quarter earnings miss, the pizza-seller’s stock plummeted by 7% after Tuesday trading closed.