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

"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.

After seeing its shares fall by 11 percent, the head of Papa John's pizza chain is directing blame at the controversy surrounding the NFL national anthem protests. A Bloomberg analyst said if fewer Americans are watching football, fewer people are ordering their usual pepperoni pizzas to sit and watch the game.

Schnatter's criticism stems from the NFL's decision to allow players to protest on the field during the playing of the national anthem before games. The Louisville, Kentucky-based company also trimmed its revenue and profit forecasts for the year.

The board announced a fourth quarter dividend of 22.5 cents per common share to be paid November 17 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on November 7. "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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"The NFL was a factor, but not the only factor".

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. In addition, the company has local tie-ins, like offering free toppings in the Washington, D.C., area for touchdowns the Redskins score. While Kaepernick has since been effectively blackballed from the league, the protests he inspired became more widespread this season as hundreds of players kneeled in response to President Trump calling for the NFL to fire players for, in his view, disrespecting the anthem and flag. As news of what he did spread, more players began to protest the same way. A number of players followed Kaepernick's lead by taking a knee during the anthem a year ago and this season.

Papa John's stock was down $5.94, or 9%, to $62.11 in early afternoon trading.

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