The NFL’s ratings and favorability is on the decline, as fans have become more disgusted than ever by National Anthem protests and Roger Goodell not taking action. It was only a matter of time before sponsors reacted to the fallout and one major sponsor is finally considering pulling out as a result.
Per a report by CNBC, Papa John’s is reconsidering sponsorship of the NFL amid declining television ratings for the sport. Papa John’s executives told The Wall Street Journal they have discussed lower than average returns on their advertising dollars and will see what happens for the rest of the season before making a final decision.
Papa John’s President Steve Ritchie stated to The Wall Street Journal:
“We are anxiously awaiting a solution to be created. That’s what will put the league in a positive place for the players, the fan base and the partners associated with them.”
This reconsideration all comes after the pizza chain’s founder and CEO John Schnatter blasted NFL leadership earlier this week for not resolving the issue of players kneeling during the national anthem. He blamed the NFL for poor third-quarter pizza sales, which he thinks helped sink the company’s stock 11 percent.
Here is that statement he made during an earning’s call per FOX News:
“The NFL has hurt us. More importantly, by not resolving the current debacle to the players’ and owners’ satisfaction, NFL leadership has hurt Papa John’s shareholders.”
If the NFL doesn’t get a handle on the current situation, Papa John’s could be the first of many large sponsors to pull their funding and the NFL would then be in jeopardy of other companies following suit. This domino effect could ultimately cause greater damage than the NFL has seen thus far.