SBJ/June 20 - 26, 2005/Marketingsponsorship

Pizza Hut’s naming deal rare for fast food

Yum Brands’ Pizza Hut has acquired naming rights to the new home stadium of MLS’ FC Dallas franchise for $30 million over the next 20 years.

Pizza Hut President Peter Hearl (left) and FC Dallas owner Lamar Hunt shake at Pizza Hut Park.
The construction cost for the project is now $80 million, up from $65 million originally, so Pizza Hut’s money could help pay for overruns. The deal naming the facility Pizza Hut Park is believed to be the only fast-food franchise naming-rights sponsorship at a pro sports facility in the United States. Papa John’s has title rights to Papa John’s Stadium, home to the University of Louisville Cardinals football team.

The announcement was made last week in Dallas, home of Pizza Hut’s headquarters. The 21,000-seat stadium located in Frisco, Texas, is part of a 117-acre suburban soccer complex built by Hunt Sports Group that also will feature 17 soccer fields. The stadium is scheduled to open in August.

Other founding partners for the stadium include Texans Credit Union, Baylor Health Care System, North Texas Chevrolet Dealers and Dr Pepper. Sources said at least one of Yum’s other brands — Wing Street, Taco Bell or Kentucky Fried Chicken — is expected to have a presence in the stadium.

Pizza Hut has long been a big sports media buyer, and this represents the company’s second big move into sponsorships this year, after a deal with some of Hendrick Motorsports’ NASCAR drivers.

Premier Partnerships has been selling marketing rights for the stadium.

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