Blaze Pizza, a midsize "fast casual" pizza chain with 88 locations all over the United States, is "fire'd up" today (that's their slogan), and for good reason: LeBron James just dumped McDonald's to serve as a marketing partner for the company.
James issued cleveland.com a press release today, in which he preached his loyalty to the Blaze brand:
"Blaze Pizza isn't your typical pizza chain," James said in a news release announcing the partnership. "Their model is literally changing the future of the fast casual industry altogether. I initially invested in this company because I knew it was a special idea that offered something people would want. Now I'm excited to go all in with Blaze Pizza in this new role and continue to give people a whole new experience."
Though he may believe Blaze is "literally changing the future of the fast casual industry," James has other incentives for going "all in" with the company: he owns "more than 10% of the company," reports ESPN's Darren Rovell.
Rovell's also got some important Blaze-related facts for us:
Of the pizza businesses where customers go through an assembly line to decide type of dough and toppings before it is thrown into a high-heat oven, Blaze had the biggest unit growth last year (plus-400 percent) and largest sales growth (plus-450 percent), according to Technomic.
Add Blaze to James's impressive list of endorsement deals, including Nike and Coca-Cola.
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.