Hornets' new sponsorship deal has Chick-fil-A replacing homegrown Bojangles'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte Hornets fans will be encouraged to "eat more chikin" starting immediately, but they won't be able to do so at NBA games until next season. Chick-fil-A on Tuesday became the team's chicken restaurant of choice, replacing Charlotte-born Bojangles' — one of the franchise's longest-running sponsors.

The sponsorship is for multiple years and worth more than $200,000 annually, according to an industry expert.

Team executives said Chick-fil-A will begin serving chicken sandwiches and chicken nuggets at Spectrum Center next season. Charlotte's first home game is Oct. 23 against Chicago.

POLL: Which is better, Bojangles' or Chick-fil-A?

Fred Whitfield, Hornets president, told CBJ that Chick-fil-A wants to make sure its arena vending setup meets the company's usual franchisee standards, leading to the delay until next season. In the meantime, Chick-fil-A will use the Hornets sponsorship for several promotions during the upcoming season, including a family pack ticket offer, social media campaigns and more.

Both companies' mascots — Hugo the Hornet and the Chick-fil-A cow — appeared uptown this week to start the sponsorship.

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