- Pizza Hut is teaming up with former student-athlete and professional football greats Terrell Owens and Cortland Finnegan for the second installment of its "Pizza Hut Rivalry Challenges" at the 2018 FCS National Championship on Jan. 6, according to a press release.
- The longtime rivals will participate in the "50 Yard Delivery Dash" during halftime. Owens and Finnegan will compete in an obstacle course testing their speed, agility and catching, while delivering pizzas to fans in the end zone. The winner will unlock a national deal for Pizza Hut fans, which will be announced after the game. Fans can follow the event at #PizzaHutNCAA.
- The Pizza Hut Rivalry Challenges began at the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship Kansas City in December, where former University of Missouri volleyball star Molly Kreklow and Kansas State University star Caitlyn Donahue played a game on the Missouri-Kansas state line. Pizza Hut has more challenges in the works at NCAA championship games in 2018.
Diehard sports fans love a good rivalry, and Pizza Hut's pairing of players with big personalities could make the "50 Yard Delivery Dash" another score with fans. Encouraging fans to engage during the event via its social channels helps the brand keep the conversation going around its game-day activities while offering exclusive deals for Hut Reward members, as the news release mentioned, could help Pizza Hut drive excitement around the brand.
Pizza Hut may have been little slower to embrace e-commerce and a strong social media presence than other major pizza chains, but it has redeemed itself with recent quirky promotions and themed merchandise aimed at boosting sales and driving digital engagement. The digital-focused promotions have led to a major increase in users for Pizza Hut's app — last year, 70% of online sales were made via the company's mobile app. Pizza Hut also launched its Hut Rewards loyalty program in August, giving rewards for every dollar spent online and the chance to win free pizzas.
Pizza Hut has found continued success with sports fans. During last year's Super Bowl and NCAA March Madness men's basketball tournament, Pizza Hut and Yahoo partnered on a digital pick 'em game. The promotions accounted for some of the largest transaction days for Pizza Hut. Leveraging its solid relationship with sports fans, Pizza Hut released a limited-edition line of basketball sneakers called Pie Tops to promote pizza deal available around the March Madness men's college basketball tournament. With built-in Bluetooth technology, the shoes connected to the brand's mobile app, allowing customers to order pizzas by touching a button on the shoe.