Papa John's blames National Football League 'debacle' for hurting its pizza sales

Papa John's blames National Football League 'debacle' for hurting its pizza sales

Papa John's blames National Football League 'debacle' for hurting its pizza sales

"This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago", Schnatter said during prepared remarks at the start of the company's quarterly earnings call with Wall Street analysts.

Papa John is resting blame for his company's declining sales at the feet of Roger Goodell and the National Football League protests.

Speaking on an earnings call Wednesday, John Schnatter, founder of Papa John's, blamed the NFL for a dropoff in sales at the pizza chain and pointed directly to the national anthem controversy.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the first to protest racial inequality during the preseason in 2016, and many have since followed suit, including the Chiefs' Marcus Peters.

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Papa John's executives said during the conference call with the media that the company pulled much of its NFL television advertising and that the league responded by giving the company additional future spots.

'NFL leadership has hurt Papa John's shareholders'. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell meanwhile has been trying to come to a compromise. The stock is down 24% this year, while competitors including Domino's have performed well (Domino's stock is up 12% this year). Ergo, Papa John's woes are the NFL's fault. Fans have reacted overwhelmingly negatively to the protests, citing them as the primary factor why they stopped watching the games. Sales growth in North America, which earlier reports was said to be anywhere from 2 to 4 percent, were adjusted down to 1.5 percent, it was announced in the company's third-quarter results. "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". According to Papa John's leadership, that association has only hurt the pizza-maker's brand in the past few months.

"The controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country", Schnatter said.

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