LOUISVILLE, KY, September 23, 1997 – Tricon Global Restaurants, Inc. has for the first time combined the marketing powerhouse of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell to become the exclusive quick-service restaurant sponsor of the most popular collegiate athletic property in America, the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association).
The multi-year partnership will equally benefit all three of Tricon’s restaurant concepts as they become the sole, quick-service restaurant partner for all NCAA championships in twenty-two sports, including: basketball, football, volleyball and baseball.
NCAA basketball activity dominates the television landscape from February through April enabling KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell to play center court as all of America roots for their hometown teams competing for the ultimate college sports championship.
“Combining the nation’s leading chicken, pizza and Mexican food restaurants with the premier collegiate sports championships in America will translate into unprecedented consumer promotions and programming for millions of sport fans and guests that visit KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell each week,” said David Novak, Vice Chairman & President, Tricon Global Restaurants, Inc.
The NCAA provides exciting, wholesome, athletic activity for college students across the country, throughout the entire year. “Our new partnership with Tricon enables the NCAA to tap into the marketing power and tremendous consumer appeal of three very popular fast food restaurants,” said NCAA Executive Director, Cedric W. Dempsey.
The NCAA has vast, universal appeal among all age groups and is a perfect brand association for KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell because each brand is known for fun and good times. Teenagers look forward to participating in NCAA championships when they reach college; college students root for their team and aspire to play on the court, and parents enjoy the good, clean athletic fun the games represent for their children.
KFC’s core audience consists mainly of families. “The KFC brand represents all-American fun, a sense of pride and connection with family and friends,” said Terry Davenport, Chief Marketing Officer, KFC. “It’s a natural for parents to stop at KFC, grab a Bucket of chicken and some of our many delicious side dishes then head home to enjoy a delicious meal as they watch exciting NCAA championships together as a family.”
Pizza Hut’s core audience is primarily families and teenagers. “Pizza Hut holds a special place in consumers lives as the local neighborhood pizza restaurant, a place where families and friends gather, and where kids come after school and after sports,” said Randy Gier, Chief Marketing Officer, Pizza Hut. “Linking the powerful hometown appeal of Pizza Hut with the grassroots action of the NCAA allows us to further strengthen our positive connection in neighborhoods all across America.”
“Eighteen to twenty-four-year-old males are a key, driving force in Taco Bell’s business; they are obsessed with sports and crave the adventure and excitement embodied in the NCAA championship,” said Vada Hill, Chief Marketing Officer, Taco Bell Corp. “They consider the NCAA Final Four one of the most dynamic sporting events of the year and associate with the players because they’re from the same school or competing against a rival school. Our consumers literally see a piece of themselves out there on the court, slamming and dunking their way on the road to victory.”
The NCAA and Tricon partnership includes advertising, consumer promotions and packaging. Plans will be announced later.
Tricon is the world’s largest restaurant company in terms of units, with nearly 30,000 restaurants around the world in 95 countries. Tricon’s brands – Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell – are the global leaders of the pizza, chicken and Mexican restaurant categories, respectively. Total worldwide system retail sales for the chains were more than $20-billion in 1996.