Papa John’s blames the NFL

Would you believe it if I said that one of the biggest pizza franchises is losing money because of the NFL. “You would not expect the NFL’s day of reckoning to arrive during the subdued third-quarter investor earnings call of America’s third-largest pizza chain. And you would not expect Papa John Schnatter (eponym and founder of Papa John’s Pizza, the chain in question) to publicly force that reckoning while explaining management’s downward revision of its year-end sales outlook, rebuking the league for which the company has been the official pizza sponsor since 2010.”(sports illustrated)

Schnatter said on Nov. 1 that the NFL’s failure to “resolve the current debacle to the players’ and owners’ satisfaction… has hurt Papa John’s shareholders.” He referred also to “the ongoing situation” and “the issue” and said, “This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago.” Papa John’s shares fell more than 8% after his comments.

The issues  refers to the player protests over racism and police involved  during the national anthem. Neither him or  his executives even though, identified precisely what was causing Papa John’s partnership with the NFL to become a problem, a headwind instead of a tailwind, in investor-speak. They spoke only of their desire to see a resolution. 


“For the past season-plus, and especially for the past six weeks, the debate over kneeling has been waged by way of the press and social media, with the various flashpoints (Colin Kaepernick’s endless free agency, Vice President Pence’s early exit from an Oct. 9 Colts game) hardly transforming the prevailing view of the conflict as one between those who believe the players are right to kneel and those who don’t. This dispute resembles many others in our polarized era: rancorous, draining, partisan, seemingly intractable. “(ESPN)  COO Steve Ritchie mentioned “significant negative consumer sentiment of our association with the league.” Polling shows that Papa John’s is the league’s most recognized sponsorship; a Fox News poll from Oct. 26 found that the NFL’s favorability among registered voters had gone from 64% to 46% in four years’ time. The league’s favorability fell among Republicans and Democrats, whites and others. (ESPN) So Papa Johns’ is blaming the NFL for the decrease in buisness.



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