Patrick Mahomes' love of ketchup has led to a month of speculation over whether the star quarterback would sign an endorsement deal for one of America's favorite condiments. He's gone with the underdog, picking Hunt's over the much-larger Heinz.
The second-year Kansas City Chiefs player has admitted to putting the red stuff on foods including macaroni and cheese and steak. After the somewhat different (yet probably not that uncommon) eating style was reported in an ESPN feature story in which Mahomes was hesitant to ask for ketchup to go with his steak, it led to speculation about whether he'd get an endorsement deal.
Even the Chiefs posted a video about it. Heinz repeatedly reached out to Mahomes on social media, with a 57 touchdowns-themed plan.
Heinz seemed like a no-brainer to woo Mahomes: two of Kraft Heinz's best-known products are mac & cheese and ketchup. Heinz's effort continued with a running tally of the QB's TDs, as recently as Thursday.
Tonight's passing TD total: 2. And just two games left to get to 57. pic.twitter.com/RM3OUGgu39— Heinz Ketchup (@HeinzKetchup_US) December 14, 2018
But the upstart QB went with the smaller challenger brand. And there is some synchronicity with his pick, the Chief's founder is named Lamar Hunt. While ketchup comes in a bottle, Mahomes' first Hunt's plug comes with two of the most canned press release quotes we've seen in some time. "I've been a fan of ketchup for as long as I can remember, and the thick, rich flavor of Hunt's ketchup delivers every time," Mahomes said (really?), in the release. "I'm thrilled to be joining the Hunt's team."
Meanwhile, Conagra Brands' Hunt's brand had this to say: "Who else would you rather have passing the ketchup than Patrick Mahomes?" asked Derek Neeley, brand director for Hunt's. "When we heard football's brightest young talent was also a huge ketchup fan, we immediately wanted him on our roster."
Kraft Heinz's response: "a wager is a wager and in the spirit of good sportsmanship, we'll make sure a food bank gets to enjoy Patrick's lifetime supply of America's Favorite Ketchup."
The Hunt's pact comes soon after Bloomberg reported that is preparing to launch a cereal brand called Patty Flakes. The company behind that effort has yet to be named.