Editor’s Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect PlayMichigan’s position.
Detroit may have never been part of a Super Bowl, but Michigan has a new banner to hang in relation to the NFL.
On Tuesday, it was announced that Michigan’s own Little Caesars Pizza has become the official pizza sponsor of the National Football League.
I’m just as shocked as you are.
The resilient pizza company, owned by the Ilitch family, was willing to take its savings from the 2022 MLB free agency period and apply it toward a landmark NFL sponsorship.
With nearly a decade of failures, Michigan pro sports fans have to take any sort of state-related victory it can get right now. But, could this move actually have a positive impact toward the Ilitch-owned Detroit Tigers in the long run?
Not just cheap Michigan pizza
My first reaction when I read that Little Caesars was replacing Pizza Hut as the official pizza sponsor of the NFL was probably like many of you – Really?
On the surface, I just didn’t see the Michigan-based pizza chain as that big of a national player.
I appreciate what Little Caesars is. It can hit the spot at times, but I’d like to meet the person that says it is their all-time favorite pizza.
It always felt like nobody’s top choice, more of a cheap alternative to pizza night.
But, then I did a little digging.
Little Caesars is actually third in the U.S. in gross annual sales at $4 billion. That’s only behind Domino’s and Pizza Hut.
To me, Little Caesars always felt local, like Meijer or Vernors. However, all 50 states and 18 international markets actually are home to the chain.
Little Caesars has never hid that it uses cheaper, more affordable ingredients to provide cheaper prices for its customers. With the pandemic leading into today’s inflation issues, affordable food has become a pretty big need.
Could the NFL partnership impact the Tigers?
The Ilitch family wouldn’t be making this deal if it didn’t believe it would ultimately impact their bottom line in a positive way.
The NFL is king in this country and partnering with the league will provide a lot of exposure for the pizza chain.
While the operations of Little Caesars don’t directly tie to the Ilitch-owned Tigers or the Detroit Red Wings, more money for the Ilitches could.
The NHL has a salary cap, so I can’t see this impacting the Red Wings much.
However, the MLB does not. More money for the family could ultimately work its way to spending more money on the Tigers.
Mike Ilitch certainly did his part to bring a World Series to Detroit with his spending. We have yet to see that same desire from Chris Ilitch since taking over the team.
Just this past offseason, the Tigers opted not to “overpay” for Carlos Correa, a prized shortstop free agent. Instead, Ilitch opted for Javier Baez at close to half the price for six years.
Half the price is a good way to look at it, since Correa is hitting .307 this year for the Minnesota Twins while Baez is hitting .188 for the Tigers.
With the Tigers having scored the fewest runs in MLB this season by 38 fewer than any other team, money needs to be spent for this franchise to turn the corner.
Hopefully, this NFL-Little Caesars partnership could somehow aid that.
But, let’s be honest, history tells us not to get our hopes up. I mean, here we are hoping a pizza chain’s advertising with the NFL somehow gets us a baseball championship.
What new products might Little Caesars provide?
The new multi-year partnership gives Little Caesars exclusive marketing rights to connect the chain with the NFL.
Included as part of the deal will be:
Social media games: Ordering a Little Caesars pizza these days is almost like a game in itself. You use their app and can just go to the story and enter a code into a giant pizza container to grab your purchase. You don’t have to communicate or look at another person if you don’t want. It’s a win-win.
New products: I’ve got a few radical ideas that fits Little Caesars’ unique pizza ideas.
- Sunday Kickoff: A football-shaped pizza. Pretty basic stuff.
- Encroachment: They add even more pepperoni, so much so it’s coming out of the box.
- Tight End: An unspeakable amount of cheese on a cheese pizza. So. Much. Cheese.
- Kneecap Pizza Balls: Perfect for Dan Campbell and Detroit. Take a bite out of some kneecaps with pepperoni and cheese.
- Personal Foul: A Hot-N-Ready stuffed into the crust of another Hot-N-Ready. It’s going to taste good, but likely do some personal damage.
- The Hail Mary: Four Hot-N-Ready’s, two crazy breads, a dozen wings and two 2-liters of Pepsi. All for $15.
New packaging: So, expect the same bright orange Little Caesars pizza box with the NFL logo on it. Hey it’s better than the near human-sized, crazy bread bag they used to use for their PIZZA! PIZZA! Deal in the 80’s.
Unique Promotions: I don’t know, a Hot-N-Ready football for the final two minutes of play? You know, just a red-hot football out of an oven that quarterbacks have to deal with like a game of hot potato. What about at-home delivery from Drew Brees? I hear he’s looking for work.