NFL is one of the “Big Four” in the United States. The league has massive fan following all around the world. Each year millions of fans throng to stadiums and consume massive amounts of hot dogs, pizzas, burgers, fries and soft drinks. An enormous amount of money is made by fast food chains that have outlets in the stadiums of NFL. But this year, official pizza sponsor of NFL, Papa John’s has complained to NFL official about declining sales of its pizzas.
The fast food chain has seen a major hit due to the ongoing NFL anthem protests. Many football players kneel during the national anthem showing their dissent. The chain is claiming that this has led to lower sales of tickets and loss for Papa John’s. The restaurant chain is disappointed with the way National Football League has handled the whole racial injustice row in sports. According to Nielsen, less people are going to stadiums to watch the games. The numbers tell the story themselves. As compared to last year, the current season has seen a fall of 5% in ratings while if we compare it to 2015, the fall has been of 18.7%. Besides this the live streaming of games has also contributed to the fall in crowd in stadiums. One can see empty stands in famous stadiums like AT&T Stadium, Metlife Stadium, Levis Stadium, AT&T Bank Stadium and Mercedes Benz Superdome etc.
Papa John’s on Wednesday said in a statement that NFL is not the only factor affecting sales. Other factors also contributing to lower sales, recent severe weather also impacted the sales. However with than said, Papa John’s remains the most recognizable brand associated with NFL. The company has exclusive deals with NFL in terms of advertising and marketing. For instances, in the FedEx Field in Maryland, the company offering free toppings, every time the Redskins make touchdown.
It all started back in August 2016, when Colin Kaepernick, quarterback of San Francisco 49ers dropped to one knee when the national anthem was playing. The suit followed and till date more than 250 players have done the same. This was a way to show dissent against the racial injustice and police violence. The controversy gained more steam when POTUS Donald Trump asked NFL owners to fire players who don’t stand for national anthem.
Whatever the reason may be, Papa John’s, the world’s third-largest pizza delivery company is suffering the brunt. The stock of the company which runs over 5,000 outlets in the USA fell by $5.94, or 9%, to $62.11.