Billion Dollar Detroit Franchise Scores High-Profile NFL Sponsorship

Little Caesars Arena

Getty Little Caesars Arena before a 2018 Red Wings game.

Detroit, Michigan is shaping up to be one of the centers of the football universe in more than one way pushing toward the very near future.

Not only will the 2024 NFL draft be coming to town, but HBO’s Hard Knocks will feature the Detroit Lions this coming season, adding to the excitement ahead of the year. Ford Motor Company, who owns the Lions, is already a major sponsor for the league but yet another Michigan company will now be set to join them in their support.

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Little Caesars has scored another win for the city. The company, founded by hometown hero Mike Ilitch in 1959, has been selected to be the official pizza of the NFL starting for the 2022 season, supplanting Pizza Hut. It’s a partnership that both sides admitted excitement about immediately, as the company’s official Twitter account showed:

“The deal comes about a month before the start of team training camps, the annual unofficial kickoff of the NFL season. The agreement will offer Little Caesars a set of exclusive marketing rights designed to connect the pizza brand with the NFL, its events, and fans. Exciting new components like social media games, new products, new packaging, and unique promotions will be revealed before the start of the 2022 season and continue throughout the course of the sponsorship,” the league’s official press release stated.

Getting Little Caesars into the fold nationally will be huge for the brand as well as Detroit, given there’s been no company other than perhaps cars associated with the Motor City lately.

Little Caesars Has Fingerprints All Over Detroit

While the Ilitch family does not own the Lions, Little Caesars is arguably one of the most well-known entities in Detroit athletically and otherwise. With his pizza wealth, Ilitch invested in the city by snapping up two of Detroit’s biggest sports franchises in the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings as well as MLB’s Detroit Tigers. With Stanley Cups in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008, Ilitch became one of the more decorated NHL owners ever and a Hockey Hall of Fame member. In terms of the Tigers, Ilitch helped oversee the transformation of the franchise from a perennial loser into the 2006 and 2012 American League Champions. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why fans could be excited about the new partnership for one of their bigger local brands.

It’s just another positive step for Detroit as well as Michigan, and a big move for a company that has local roots all over the state.

NFL Offseason Has Been Kind to Detroit

For many folks who have either never been to Detroit or considered it a city not worthy of their time, the locale will get a chance to step up and prove that they can merit some great attention on a national stage in the coming years. Combined with Hard Knocks as well as the Little Caesars deal whetting everyone’s appetite for the Lions in 2022, the city is about to get a whole lot more eyeballs on it in the next few years, and it’s happening at the perfect time. Detroit has long been poised for a revival, and with some of the changes downtown, it’s different than many people remember it from the past.

A big-time event in the draft coming back to the city for the first time since Super Bowl 40 in 2006 is something for everyone to be excited about, as is a partnership for the league with one of the best companies the city has to offer. This keeps Detroit hot through the offseason, and sets up the city to become a mecca for the NFL in the coming years in multiple different ways.

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