One of NFL’s biggest advertisers pulls ads, CEO feels betrayed

Whenever you stand (or take a knee) on NFL players’ protest during the pre-game national anthem, it’s having some real effects. I’m not just talking about Donald Trump’s Twitter feed or arguments among fans. But in corporate sales and advertising dollars.

In a stunning move, one of the NFL’s biggest advertisers is pulling its NFL-related advertisements, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell. On Wednesday, he announced on Twitter that pizza chain Papa John’s will no longer run ads during football games.


For the last two years, Papa John’s has been the advertiser most closely associated with the NFL, making it particularly surprising that it will no longer advertise with the league.

So was the move political, financial, or both? Jonathan Maze, senior financial editor at Nation’s Restaurant News explains:

So basically, the fans are divided on the issue, with some siding with President Trump, some with the players, and some not caring. But in any event, NFL ratings and confidence in the league are down.

Darren Rovell explains it like this:

So with less fans watching football games, less people are watching Papa John’s ads, and less people are ordering pizzas, the company said in a conference call explaining its declining sales and plummeting stock, ABC News reports.

Papa John’s CEO and founder John Schnatter put the blame on the NFL and feels betrayed by the NFL.

“The NFL has hurt us. We are disappointed the NFL and its leadership did not resolve this. Leadership starts at the top and this is an example of poor leadership,” he said, adding that he thought the NFL should have nipped the issue in the bud a year and a half ago.

Papa John’s is the first major chain to stop advertising with the NFL and it’s a major loss to the league. Will others follow? We’ll see as the season continues.

What do you think? Was Papa John’s right to pull advertising from the NFL? Or should the players be able to protest and should teams, fans, and advertisers give them more support? Let us know in the comments on Facebook.

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