Pizza Hut Will Replace Papa John's As "Official Pizza" Of The NFL

It's been barely 12 hours since Papa John's CEO John Schnatter revealed during the company's fourth-quarter earnings call that it had officially ended its relationship with the NFL - and already the league has found a replacement.

Pizza Hut said - and the league confirmed - that the fast-food pizza brand will replace Papa John's as NGL sponsor and "official pizza" of the NFL. The multi-year deal will start with the NFL's 2018 draft.

The deal will include the collective use of all 32 team markets. Schnatter said yesterday that, while the brand would be ending its partnership with the league after withdrawing advertising late last year, it will continue to honor its partnerships with individual teams and players.


Despite the news, shares of Pizza Hut owner Yum Brands ticked lower in premarket trading.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell praised Pizza Hut and said he was looking forward to working with the brand.

"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," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday.

As Dominoes continues to outmaneuver its competitors in the fast-food pizza space, Pizza Hut has been aggressively discounting its pizzas, rolling out contests and offering new rewards since the beginning of the year as it tries to wrestle market share from competitors, CNBC pointed out. During the Super Bowl, for example, the chain said it would give away free medium two-topping pizzas to Hut Reward members if the record for the fastest touchdown was broken.

Papa John's shares plunged in after-hours trading Tuesday after the company announced its plans to sever ties with the league, while also reporting revenues that missed Wall Street expectations.