Whether or not your bracket has been busted, here’s a new reason to be interested in the NCAA March Madness tournament – the possibility of free food.
Pizza Hut announced Tuesday that if a team overcomes a 17-point or larger deficit to win during the Final Four or championship games, it will give away free P’Zones to members of its Hut Rewards loyalty program.
“We wanted to find a way to bring the excitement of what’s happening on the court to fans at home, and there’s no better way to reward our P’ZONE lovers than with the potential to win a free one during the pinnacle of March Madness,” said Marianne Radley, Pizza Hut chief brand officer, in a statement.
If the comeback happens, then the free P’Zones can be redeemed online April 17 and only applies to pepperoni.
The P’Zone – the pizza chain’s spin on a calzone – returned to Pizza Hut menus nationwide in mid-March and is part of the $5 lineup. It was first launched in 2002 and is available in pepperoni, meaty and supremo.
Besides overcoming the deficit, there’s a small catch before the chance to cash in on a possible freebie.
To be eligible to win a free pepperoni P’Zone, you must be a new or existing member of Hut Rewards and also opt-in to participate in the promotion within your account before the tip-off of the first Final Four game, Pizza Hut said. Sign up at www.pizzahut.com.
The first Final Four game Saturday between Auburn and Virginia starts at 6:09 p.m. EDT, followed by Michigan State against Texas Tech at 8:49 p.m.
Though there’s no guarantee a team will come back from a 17-point or more deficit, it is not impossible.
In 2001, Duke was down by 22 in the first half and came back to beat Maryland during a Final Four game. In 2006, UCLA came back from 17 points behind to beat Gonzaga.
Last year, Little Caesars had a promotion of its own, which was much more of a long shot.
Before March Madness began the chain announced its “If Crazy Happens” promotion and said it would give away free pizza if a 16-seed beat a 1-seed in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
In a historic first, the University of Maryland-Baltimore County beat Virginia, 74-54. Little Caesars honored the free lunch promotion.