The holiday break is always a hot time for huge basketball tournaments in regions across the country, and Indiana is no different. In the case of the hoops-mad Hoosier State, the biggest might be the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic, which hosts some 28 games between 16 different teams. This year's event was won by the Terre Haute (Ind.) North High Patriots.
Yet, while the tournament produces a near dizzying amount of basketball action, those statistics are nothing compared to the sheer amount of pizza consumed at the site across the week-long event: According to WTHI-TV, more than 10,000 slices are sold at the event each year.
"Back at the stores really is where all the action takes place." Pizza Hut spokesman Mark Achenbach told WTHI. "They're the ones making the pizzas, putting them out, between the drivers, the cooks and the management teams. Each year we use three of our local restaurants to help produce the pizzas we bring here. In fact, each year we bring over 10,000 slices to the site."
That's right, a high school tournament sells 10,000 slices of pizza each year. To put that stunning number in perspective, that means that the event's title sponsor Pizza Hut sells 357 slices of pie in each game. If you assume that each game averaged 1,000 fans (and that's not necessarily a safe assumption), that would require more than one out of every three fans to buy and eat a slice of pizza.
It's a fairly crazy thought, particularly given the nature of the event Pizza Hut is sponsoring. After all, this is a high school athletic tournament in the age of adolescent obesity. Perhaps advertising the number of slices sold isn't the most forward thinking effort by the good PR folks at Pizza Hut.
On the other hand, it does clarify one thing: We now know one of the major reasons why Pizza Hut is sponsoring that tournament.