NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was in a hurry to cut this deal before the pizza got cold.
The NFL said Wednesday it has tapped Pizza Hut to become its official sponsor — less than 24 hours after the league and Papa John’s parted ways following last year’s tiff between Goodell and the pizza chain’s ex-CEO over the national anthem protests.
“With a focus on family, friends and fun, Pizza Hut has the creativity we are looking for in a partner,” Goodell said in a Wednesday statement that confirmed the NFL’s new sponsor.
Papa John’s, which later apologized for ex-CEO John Schnatter’s remarks, had insisted on Tuesday that it was not divorcing itself from the NFL altogether. Instead, Papa John’s said it is shifting its marketing to focus on 22 of the league’s 32 teams on a team-by-team basis.
The NFL’s eight-year partnership with Papa John’s — cut three years early by Tuesday’s announcement — had been fraying since November, when then Schnatter blamed poor sales at Papa John’s on “poor leadership” at the NFL.
Schnatter, who exited the pizza chain a month later, said the league should have stopped players from kneeling during the national anthem immediately after former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick initiated the practice in 2016.
The Papa John’s founder claimed the practice — aimed at raising awareness of police brutality and social injustice — hurt the NFL’s TV ratings, which in turn hurt pizza sales.
“The controversy is polarizing the customer, polarizing the country,” Schnatter said during a company earnings call on Nov. 1.
Source: NY Post (Richard Morgan)
Photo Credit: PR Newswire