Papa John’s Fires Shots At NFL, Blames League Not Making Players Stand For Anthem For Low Sales

The NFL has received massive amounts of backlash from it’s core target market for it’s players kneeling during the National Anthem as well as the league inability to legislate it.

That backlash has now moved from fans to sponsors – one of the biggest sponsors.

Pizza giant Papa Johns, the official pizza company of the league and a $40 million + per year sponsor, voiced it’s displeasure with how to league has handled the ongoing player protests and their inability to come to a resolution with the players.

With more and more people refusing to watch NFL football, the platform in which Papa Johns pours money into having their advertisments air, executives of the company is claiming with less eyes on their ads, less people are buying pizza.

ABC News

“The NFL has hurt us,” company founder and CEO John Schnatter said. “We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this.”

Executives said the company has pulled much of its NFL television advertising and that the NFL has responded by giving the company additional future spots.
“Leadership starts at the top and this is an example of poor leadership,” Schnatter said, noting he thought the issue had been “nipped in the bud” a year and a half ago.

In revising sales estimates for the next quarter, Papa John’s president and chief operating officer Steve Ritchie said on the call that the NFL deal was the primary suspect behind the decline and that “we expect it to persist unless a solution is put in place.”

Ritchie said that research has found that Papa John’s has been the most recognized sponsor associated with the NFL for two years running, which he said means the company’s performance can track with that of the league.

Papa John’s has a deal with not only the NFL, but also with 23 individual teams.

Company executives declined to disclose exactly how much money in projected sales Papa John’s lost from its association with the NFL and declining ratings, which mean fewer people are ordering their product for game days, they said.