Papa Johns and Shaquille O'Neal, the chain's biggest celebrity spokesperson, agreed to a new endorsement deal worth $5.63 million, according to an SEC filing.
The agreement ends March 15, 2025, with an option for a one-year extension if mutually agreed upon. It also features customary exclusivity, termination, and indemnification clauses. Cash payments of $5.63 million will be paid across the three-year stint.
It replaces the previous deal, which ran from March 2019 to 2022.
Similar to the prior contract, the new endorsement agreement gives Papa Johns the right and license to use O'Neal's name, nickname, initials, autograph, voice, video, or film portrayals, photograph, likeness, and other intellectual property rights in advertising, promotion, and sale of products. The NBA Hall-of-Famer will also provide brand ambassador services related to appearances, social media, and public relation matters.
Additionally, the deal renews the offering of Papa Johns' extra large Shaq-a-Roni pizza, which was first introduced in the summer of 2020. The company sold more than 3 million of these pizzas in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Each of those years, $1 from every Shaq-A-Roni pizza sold was donated to the The Papa John’s Foundation for Building Community.
O'Neal will be paid a fee for the Shaq-A-Roni pizza if the total amount of royalties in a given year ($0.20 per pizza sold) exceeds the contractual payment for that year.
"Shaq isn’t just another spokesperson for us," CEO Rob Lynch told QSR in November. "He’s a franchisee. He has ownership in the brand. He’s a board member. And so, when we came up with this idea for Shaq-a-Roni it was about more than just launching a product. It was about how do we put Shaq into a situation where all of the great things he brings to the table can be married with all of the great things we’re trying and aspiring to be."
As part of the deal, O'Neal will also receive 55,898 restricted stock units under the company's 2018 Omnibus Incentive Plan.
The agreement was reviewed by Papa Johns' Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee before being approved by the board of directors.
O'Neal has been an investor in restaurants for more than a decade, including his own concept, Big Chicken, which recently started franchising. He's also been involved with Krispy Kreme and Five Guys franchises, and a fine-dining spot in L.A.