by: Jayson Derrick, Benzinga Staff Writer
Pizza chain Papa John's Int'l, Inc. PZZA 4.29% claimed in November that its business had been negatively impacted by the NFL's kneeing controversy. Now, the pizza chain is no longer the official pizza sponsor of the NFL, a title it held since 2010.
Papa John's CEO Steve Ritchie confirmed Tuesday the company reached a "mutual decision" to no longer act as a league sponsor, ESPN reported. The pizza chain will now focus on a partnership with local NFL teams and will hold a presence in broadcast and digital media in these markets.
Yum! Brands, Inc. YUM 2.85% announced Wednesday its Pizza Hut restaurant chain reached a multi-year agreement with the NFL. The agreement will cover a "vast array" of exclusive marketing rights, benefits and designations involving not only the league as a whole but specific teams, players, events, partners, properties and NFL experiences.
Why It's Important
"The opportunity to align in an official capacity with the NFL is a tremendous opening for a brand and product that is so neatly aligned with the football-watching occasion like pizza and Pizza Hut," said Andy Rosen, Pizza Hut franchise owner and Franchise Board of Directors Chairman. "Our system is aligned behind and thrilled about this partnership. No one better understands the essence of Pizza Hut, including our consumers, than our group of owners and team members."
The new partnership gives Pizza Hut the right to leverage game tickets and fan experiences to all NFL Games in marketing and promotional campaigns, the company said. Fans will get a first glimpse of the new partnership during the 2018 NFL Draft will which will be held near the company's headquarters in Dallas, Texas.
Papa John's was trading down about 5 percent following a Q4 EPS miss and lowered guidance. Yum Brands was unchanged in Wednesday's pre-market session.
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