Scoring the coveted National Football League official pizza sponsorship is a big deal. The three-year, multimillion dollar contract includes use of the NFL shield logo and other NFL trademarks in advertising and marketing promotions. It’s a contract any pizza chain would love to have, but in the end it was the third-largest pizza company, Papa John’s, that came out on top of larger rivals Pizza Hut and Domino’s.
Papa John’s Chief Marketing Officer Andrew Varga said the partnership “will greatly enhance our brand-building efforts and allow us to really see some nice, measurable results.” As a result, the Louisville, Kentucky-based Papa John’s chain is planning a major media assault that will include a lot of advertising, store promotions and digital campaigns.
Pizza and football have proven to be a good pairing for Papa John’s in the past. Papa John’s has been the official pizza of several individual NFL teams including the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams, Tennessee Titans and Washington Redskins. The chain also enjoyed its largest single sales day in their history on Super Bowl Sunday this year. As the official pizza sponsor of Super Bowl XLIV, Papa John’s sold more than 900,000 pizzas at their 2,700 different U.S. locations that Sunday.
Ultimately, the success of the sponsorship deal will depend on how creatively Papa John’s can utilize the new NFL affiliation. Football affiliations at the local level have shown they can increase pizzeria business and profitability, now it remains to be seen whether the strategy can be applied nationally with the same results.