Pizza Hut has taken a bigger bite of the NCAA than other corporate partners, as least as far as activation is concerned.

While most NCAA corporate partners activate around the NCAA’s crown jewel—the Division 1 Men’s Basketball Championship—the Yum! Brands, Inc. subsidiary is taking a broader approach to its sponsorship.

The restaurant chain, which announced a multiyear partnership with the NCAA in late 2016, is activating the tie with a social media campaign around the majority of the governing body’s 32 D1 championships.

The linchpin of the program is Jason Zone Fisher, the “Pizza Hut All-American.” Fisher won the title as part of a nationwide search that offered one winner the opportunity to attend and create content from all D1 championships.

The campaign includes the Men’s Basketball Tournament as well as cross-country, water polo and other lower-profile finals.

“Most companies sign up for March Madness. We wanted to take a unique twist and activate at every Division 1 national championship,” said Courtney Moscovic, Pizza Hut manager of PR and partnerships.

Pizza Hut looks to create fun, viral content at each event.  

The pizza purveyor activated the Men’s Cross Country Championship with a competition that compared how long it took Fisher to make and deliver a pizza with the time it took Internet sensation Noah Droddy to run a 5K. The competition was announced by retired NBA player Shane Battier.

Pizza Hut also activated the event with free pizza, a drumline and a billboard touting an official proclamation from the mayor of the host city, Terre Haute, Ind., to rename the town Terre Hut in honor of Pizza Hut and the Cross Country Championship.

Pizza Hut leveraged last month’s Men’s Water Polo championship with a Facebook Live promotion that offered free pizza for a year for people who could correctly guess how well Fisher would do with difficult water polo skills.

The promotion has thus far received more than 17,000 views.

Fisher distributes the content on his Twitter and Instagram (@PHAllAmerican) channels.

Pizza Hut also is activating the sponsorship in restaurants. The company has given franchisees a “sponsorship playbook” with NCAA logos for point-of-purchase displays, radio ads and other local activation.

The playbook also offers guidance on sponsoring regional NCAA championships. That includes a list of games, where they are located, how to engage team members and activation ideas.

Roughly 94 percent of Pizza Hut’s 6,200 restaurants are franchised.

The NCAA represents Pizza Hut’s only national sponsorship. The company sponsors a handful of pro sports teams in Dallas—the location of its corporate headquarters—while franchisees spearhead deals in local markets.

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