Papa John's Pulls NFL Ads: Anthem Protests Are Hurting Business

02 November, 2017, 01:12 | Author: Ellis Copeland
  • John Schattner

Papa John's is an NFL sponsor, and has often been recognized in tandem with the league.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wide Receivers Mike Evans #13, and DeSean Jackson #11, take a knee during the national anthem before the game against the Minnesota Vikings on September 24, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

"This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago", Schnatter said.

"Our global operators delivered another quarter of positive comp sales, with worldwide leading the way, posting the 30th consecutive quarter of worldwide positive comps", founder, Chairman and CEO John Schnatter said in the release. And Papa John's founder and CEO John Schnatter wasn't shy about who he thinks is to blame for the "debacle": Commissioner Roger Goodell.

"Like Subway in recent years, Papa John's has invested in athletes to market their products", Darren Tristano, a foodservice trend expert, told CNBC via email.

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The NFL did not respond to the Washington Post's request for comment. The company's stock fell by 13 percent on the news, their worst decline in over two years.

The NFL may be part of the problems Papa John's faces, but it's far from the only one.

NFL players began kneeling during the national anthem more than a year ago - starting with a protest against racial inequality and police brutality by Colin Kaepernick, then the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. Ergo, Papa John's woes are the NFL's fault.

Schnatter went on to say that while the election affected National Football League ratings in 2016, this year ratings are down because of the controversy, adding that "the controversy is polarizing the customer; polarizing the country".

Third-quarter sales rose 1 percent at established locations in North America, which it said was below what the company had expected. "Further, Lockhart said that other top sponsors have expressed similar concerns as the NFL's TV ratings slump and political battles play out in the league".

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