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Pizza Hut Replaces Papa John’s as the NFL’s Pizza Sponsor

Brandon Contes

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Less than 24 hours after the NFL parted ways with Papa John’s as the league’s official pizza sponsor, Pizza Hut has stepped in with a multi-year partnership.

“We know many of our fans enjoy pizza while watching NFL games and we are thrilled to have Pizza Hut, an industry leader and one of America’s favorite brands, as an official league sponsor,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “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.”

Papa John’s had three years remaining on its eight-year contract with the NFL when CEO John Schnatter weighed in on NFL player protests during the national anthem stating, “The NFL has hurt us. We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this.”

Schnatter believed the league should have attempted to stop players from kneeling during the anthem before it became a prominent form of protest. Soon after those comments were made, it was announced that Schnatter would be replaced as CEO beginning January 1, 2018, but being the company’s biggest shareholder, he would remain as chairman of the board.

According to Papa John’s, the pizza chain plans to continue a relationship with the NFL on a team-by-team basis, focusing on 22 of its 32 teams.

President of Pizza Hut, Artie Starrs stated, “We have an unmatched ability to bring those fans closer to the sport thanks to the power of our 7,500 restaurants and 150,000 football-crazed team members. The capacity for what’s possible is endless and that’s going to make this league partnership great fun for Pizza Hut, the NFL and everyone who loves pizza and football.”

Terms of the company’s deal with the NFL were not announced.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports TV News

ACC Network Expands Women’s Basketball, Baseball Tournament Coverage

A report from Michael Smith of Sports Business Journal says ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips was the driving force in the move to ACC Network.

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ESPN and Raycom have struck a deal to make ACC Network the television home of the women’s basketball and baseball tournaments, beginning with the 2023 season.

A report from Michael Smith of Sports Business Journal says ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips was the driving force in the move to ACC Network. Previously, the championship events had been distributed on Bally Sports South, which confused viewers.

“We are thrilled. This is a significant moment that will enhance these premier events and provide much-needed access to our fans,” Phillips said. “We appreciate ESPN, Raycom Sports, and Bally for mutually agreeing to make this happen.”

ESPN or ESPN2 will continue to carry the championship games for both the women’s basketball and baseball tournaments.

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Sports TV News

Michael McCarthy: Craig Carton Will Debut On FS1 Within Month, Nick Wright Not Leaving

“That doesn’t mean viewers should expect Wright to be Craig Carton’s partner on television.”

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Michael McCarthy is the guest this week on The Jason Barrett Podcast. The Front Office Sports scribe is plugged into what is happening at FOX, and Barrett asked him to shed some light on the morning situation at FS1.

Jenna Wolfe recently announced her departure from First Things First. It is widely assumed that it is the first of many changes on the show to make way for WFAN’s Craig Carton, who will be starting his own morning show for the company.

“I think that Carton’s gonna get on the air literally within the next month,” McCarthy said. “I think the Jenna Wolfe move was the first in re-casting. It wouldn’t really surprise me to see some of the people from First Things First pop up on other shows.”

There is bound to be speculation about who is and isn’t safe amongst the First Things First cast. Michael McCarthy said one name no one needs to be worried about is Nick Wright.

McCarthy says he has been told by multiple people that FOX is high on Wright and has big plans for him.

“They think of him as the next Skip, the next Cowherd. So I think if anyone is sitting in a position to either of those talents at FOX, it’s Nick Wright. That’s how highly they think about him.”

That doesn’t mean viewers should expect Wright to be Craig Carton’s partner on television. McCarthy, who is a New Yorker, knows that not everyone is capable of being a good partner to the WFAN afternoon host. Not only is Nick Wright likely not a good fit for the role, but McCarthy couldn’t say who currently on the FOX payroll is.

“You really have to be secondary to [Carton’s] personality. He’s the show. So if you’re an Acho or a Marcellus or something like that, used to being the show, and you get together with a Carton, Carton’s gonna try and dominate the show. There could be a real clash of egos there.”

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Sports TV News

The Stephen A. Smith Memoir Release Date Set for January

“Due to my fixation on privacy pertaining to my personal life, it took a lot of time, and a lot of prodding by loved ones, to finally get me to do this,” he said.

Jordan Bondurant

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Stephen A. Smith

It’s taken some time, but ESPN First Take host Stephen A. Smith is releasing a memoir at the start of next year.

Straight Shooter: A Memoir of Second Chances and First Takes will focus on Stephen A.’s upbringing, journalism career and the challenges he’s endured on his path to stardom.

Smith said that in order for the book to come to light, he had to do some convincing of his family members.

“Due to my fixation on privacy pertaining to my personal life, it took a lot of time, and a lot of prodding by loved ones, to finally get me to do this,” he said.

Even after some coaxing, Smith said there will be no sugarcoating in his book.

“But as I once told my mom, ‘If I’m going to write a book, I’ll be damned if I’m holding back. I’m going to speak my truth, say what I have to say, just so everyone knows where I stand and why,’” he said. “I know I’ve done that in this book. I had to do so eventually. It was time. No matter the consequences.”

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