The National Football League (NFL) has signed a multi-year agreement with American restaurant chain Pizza Hut to name it as the official pizza sponsor of the NFL.

The development follows after Papa John’s ended its agreement with NFL. Papa John’s has been the official pizza sponsor of the American football league since 2010.

Starting with the 2018 NFL draft in North Texas in April, the new agreement will offer Pizza Hut an array of exclusive marketing rights to connect the brand with the NFL and its teams, players, events, partners.

The partnership, which will see Pizza Hut work closely with NFL, also involves the collective use of all 32 team marks and facilitate local, exclusive team partnerships.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said: “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.”

Consumers and fans can also order pizza via digital and delivery innovations introduced by Pizza Hut.

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The pizza maker is also exploring pizza delivery via self-driving vehicles.

Pizza Hut US president Artie Starrs added: “NFL stadiums are packed every week but tens of millions of fans are also watching the game at home.

“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.”

In addition, Pizza Hut can make use of game tickets and fan experiences to all NFL games in marketing and promotional campaigns throughout each year.

Founded in 1958, Pizza Hut is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands and has more than 7,500 restaurants in the US, and 16,700 worldwide in over 100 countries.