After parting ways with Papa John’s, the NFL wasted no time in setting sights on another national pizza chain to partner with.
Pizza Hut was announced as the new official pizza sponsor of the NFL on Wednesday, starting a four-year deal worth more than Papa John’s, CNN reports.
As part of the partnership, Pizza Hut will enjoy various exclusive marketing rights previously available to Papa John’s, including the right to label its boxes with the “Official Pizza Sponsor of the NFL” tag.
“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.
Artie Starrs, head of Pizza Hut US, called the news “great fun for Pizza Hut, the NFL and everyone who loves pizza and football.”
The partnership officially begins with the NFL draft in April.
The announcement came a day after Papa John’s and the NFL revealed the end of their seven-year business relationship.
Papa John’s, which will retain partnership with 22 individual teams, said Tuesday that its sales were down 3.9 percent from the same period of time last year.
The pizza chain has blamed the decline in its sales on the widespread national anthem protests that took place last season.
“We are certainly disappointed that NFL and its leadership did not resolve the ongoing situation to the satisfaction of all parties,” company founder and former CEO John Schnatter said last year. “This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago.”
In the midst of the controversy, Pizza Hut took a jab at Papa John’s by saying it was “not seeing any impact from any of that on our business.”
Papa John’s later issued an apology for its NFL remarks.
On Tuesday, Papa John’s CEO Steve Ritchie vowed to remain “prominent” among football fans.
“We thank the NFL for all the efforts and the partnership that we’ve had over the last seven years, and we’ll continue to be very prominent on NFL game days as we move forward,” he said.