LeBron signs with ‘the Chipotle of pizza’


BLOOMBERG: LeBron James is cutting ties with McDonalds in favor of Blaze Pizza.

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BLOOMBERG: LeBron James is cutting ties with McDonalds in favor of Blaze Pizza.

Blaze, one of several fast-growing chains vying to be the so-called Chipotle of pizza, expects to finish 2015 with about 110 restaurants and just over $100 million in revenue. James, a four-time National Basketball Association most valuable player, has been an investor in Blaze since 2012, and now has the opportunity to use his immense star power to put a chain that most Americans have never heard of squarely on the map.

There was a time when a star as big as James would have stuck with large, deep-pocketed companies like Nike Inc., PepsiCo Inc. and McDonald’s, and plenty still do. But by casting his lot with Blaze, James can also boost the value of the equity investment. And because he has a financial stake, he may be an even more effective spokesman, said Allen Adamson, North American chairman of the branding firm Landor Associates.

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