By Ian Oland
Last week Alex Ovechkin captivated the hockey world when he became the fifth fastest player in NHL history to score 500 goals. That excitement got the attention of pizza titan Papa John’s Pizza, who announced Thursday that they have signed the extremely marketable Ovechkin to a multi-year endorsement deal.
Like Ovechkin’s style, the partnership is creative, so all of humankind will benefit. Papa John’s will kick off the partnership with a promotion, The Ovechkin Wish Special. If you buy two medium, one-topping pizzas, $1 from the purchase will be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Mid-Atlantic chapter.
“Ovi really enjoys kids and, as everyone has seen, he loves bringing smiles and laughter to their faces – and for some, making their dreams come true,” Ovechkin’s agent David Abrutyn said to me in a phone interview Wednesday evening. “This partnership with Papa John’s is a great way for him and fans throughout the DC region to help do more of those great things.”
But let me talk about the price for a minute. Each pizza (in the $16 promotion) costs you $8. If you’re a dedicated Ovechkin fan, you will celebrate your first order by taking the pizzas out of the box and laying them next to each other so that they form a #8 on your dinner table.
If you go with the pepperoni, notice how it begins to resemble a red 8.
The offer is available under the “Specials” section on papajohns.com at the 162 participating Papa John’s locations in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area, which includes stores in and around Baltimore.
The current Caps50 Special — 50 percent off all regular menu price online items the day after the Caps win and score four or more goals (which is basically redeemable after every Caps game this season) — will not be affected.
“Papa John’s has been a long-time sponsor of the Capitals and Verizon Center for over 15 years and have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with Monumental Sports and Entertainment,” Bill Freitas, president of Papa John’s National Capital Co-Operative, said. “When the opportunity to team up with Alex and raise money for Make-A-Wish presented itself, we jumped at the opportunity, as we feel Alex has the same spirit of giving and sense of community as the Papa John’s franchisees in this area.”
“The fact that Alex also loves our pizza is just icing on the cake.” Freitas said.
Beyond the initial Ovechkin Wish Special, I am told there will be more very interesting developments from this partnership coming in February and the playoffs. This will include in-arena elements as well as radio, digital and TV spots. It will showcase Ovi’s unique personality.
The partnership officially began last week, when Papa John’s gave away 500 free pizzas to those who followed their Instagram account. It was to celebrate Ovechkin’s milestone goal.
“It was very important for Ovi to work with a long-time supporter of the Capitals, Verizon Center, and Monumental Sports, and the community that has been so great in supporting him and the Capitals throughout his career,” Abrutyn said.
Now let’s eat. And because of Ovechkin, it can be for a gr8 cause.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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