As fantasy football season gets underway, with some leagues beginning their drafts, Pizza Hut said it is now the official pizza of ESPN Fantasy Football.
Plans from the Yum Brands pizza chain include weekly awards for ESPN leagues as well as one grand prize including a championship-style ring, encrusted with rubies, diamonds and a Pizza Hut logo, valued at an estimated $10,000.
Pizza Hut's push to entice fantasy football fans comes as such leagues are drawing a large and hungry crowd. According to the pizza chain, participation in fantasy football leagues has jumped 40% in the past year. And according to a survey from American Express, nearly 75 million Americans plan to participate in fantasy football this year. Amex said 56% of those participating plan to spend on food while they play.
ESPN is the most-popular spot for fantasy football leagues. According to the Amex survey, 54% of players planned to play through ESPN leagues. And ESPN says its fantasy football app has been downloaded more than 16 million times.
Pizza Hut said each week it would award one league commissioner with prizes such as a commemorative football, free pizza for the remainder of the fantasy football season, $15 Pizza Hut cards for each member in that league and a $200 ESPN Shop gift card. At the end of the season, one person will be named commissioner of the year and will get the custom ring designed by Jostens, and other prizes including a trip for two to ESPN's Bristol, Conn., headquarters, two years worth of Pizza Hut pizza and a $2,500 Amazon gift card.
ESPN already teamed up with DraftKings for a bigger prize for one lucky fan -- the ESPN Fantasy Football league manager player with the highest number of fantasy points in a DraftKings contest will get an additional $1 million to split between the members of his or her league.