SBJ/June 20 - 26, 2005/Other News

‘The family pizza people’ stake their claim in Frisco with pro and amateur soccer

Three questions with Peter Hearl, president, Pizza Hut

What is your rationale and objective here?
Hearl: We’re big believers in being part of the community. We position ourselves as the family pizza people, and the opportunity to tie in with a sport like soccer and into a growth area in Frisco was sort of a harmonic convergence for us.

Title sponsorships are all about branding; is that something Pizza Hut really needs?
Hearl: We’re just hoping Pizza Hut Park becomes known as a place associated with fun and entertainment, and the enormous amount of youth soccer that will be played there should help us. These things are always tough to measure, but it just feels right. Our target is families with kids, and this should hit that dead on.

The word around the industry relative to Pizza Hut and sports marketing for quite a while has been “no NASCAR, no building titles.” What changed?
Hearl: There were unique opportunities. NASCAR is still growing and its appeal is enormous; our research shows a lot of moms are fans. Likewise, something like Pizza Hut Park may only come along once in a lifetime. It’s not a single stadium — it is something local that will involve kids, men, women, being involved in the whole complex, not just with MLS, with all kinds of soccer. That was important to us, and it is in a high-growth area in north Dallas. We’re looking for 1.4 million spectators or participants to go through the facility each year. If every one bought just one pizza …

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