The NFL has announced today only one day after ending their agreement with Papa John's that Pizza Hut will now be the new official NFL sponsor. The fast-food chain will now be able to use NFL promotions in their marketing strategies and the deal will commence at the start of this year's draft.

Pizza Hut

The deal with Pizza Hut represents a smart marketing strategy as they currently hold 7,200 restaurants in the United States alone, compared to Papa John's 3,400 locations (this also including Canada). NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had this to say:

"Pizza Hut has the creativity that 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."

It is clear that Pizza Hut is not too concerned by the controversy surrounding player protests during national anthems last season.

This is the issue that can be alluded to as the catalyst for the end of Papa John's association with the NFL after they weighed in on the effect of the protests on their brand. It will prove interesting to see what collaborations the NFL and Pizza Hut can concoct to prove that their relationship will be a fruitful endeavour.

What happened to Papa John's?

Papa John's and the NFL came to a mutual decision to end their partnership that dates back to as far as 2010, with the pizza company now shifting their focus to 22 local NFL teams. They will, however, continue to fund the NFL via the local teams but will no longer be present in the league's big events such as the Super Bowl and the draft; where new sponsor Pizza Hut will begin their association with the league.

Despite mutually parting ways the relationship between the NFL and Papa John's turned sour after former CEO spoke out about the player protests that took place during national anthems last year, stating that they hurt his business. He said at the time:

"We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership didn't resolve this." His comments caused the company's stock to drop by 12% and he was removed as CEO of Papa John's on New Year's Day.

There will be no additional cost for ending the deal as Papa John's became the first NFL sponsor to end their association in the midst of their contract. With this in mind, it is perhaps easy to conclude that the deal was not mutual with there being a clear motive for the two to part ways. However that being said, the two organisations are clearly not dwelling on past discrepancies and shall both move on from their 8-year partnership with Pizza Hut now the new pizza sponsor of the NFL.