Chick-fil-A is giving the entire state of Utah free food, and it’s a brilliant marketing ploy

Chick-fil-A is giving free food to the entire state of Utah.

On Wednesday evening, the Utah Jazz defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA regular season opener. More importantly for Chick-fil-A fans, the Thunder's Steven Adams missed two straight free throws in the fourth quarter.

This season, Chick-fil-A announced that if a player on the opposing team misses two free throws in a row in the fourth quarter while playing the Jazz, all customers with a Chick-fil-A app in the state of Utah will get free chicken. With Adams doing exactly that twice in a row, Chick-fil-A is set to offer a free chicken sandwich to everyone in Utah starting Thursday.

Read more: Chick-fil-A's first UK location will close after 6 months, revealing how the chain's polarizing reputation could impact a key aspect of its explosive growth

While free chicken for an entire state sounds absurdly ambitious, it is a deal that makes a lot of sense for Chick-fil-A.

Chick-fil-A has a number of sports partnerships, including the college football Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and concessions stands in many sporting arenas (including the Utah Jazz's Vivint Smart Home Arena). The chain's operators are encouraged to pursue local partnerships, intended to help Chick-fil-A embed into different communities.

A state-wide deal also helps introduce more Utahans to the chain, which currently has less than 40 locations in the state. As Chick-fil-A transforms from a regional Southern brand to the third-largest chain by sales in the US, it is crucial to establish itself as a customer favorite in new regions where it is still a relative unknown.

Plus, by making customers download the app, Chick-fil-A is better able to turn people seeking a deal into loyal customers. As of May, digital orders accounted for almost 20% of Chick-fil-A's sales — a significant increase from 6% at the beginning of 2018.

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