Papa John’s Blames Bad Ratings on Football

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Papa John’s is attributing an 8 percent nosedive in stock prices to their major investment in the NFL

“It wasn’t the pizza or industry competition, we swear.”

“Better ingredients, better pizza, better blame someone else.” Papa John’s reported slower same-store sales than usual last quarter, which resulted in an eight percent stock dip this week. But in an earnings call, the fast-food pizza chain said that while there has been growth (3.8 percent same-store sales), it’s not enough, and the company is blaming an unusual source: football.

“We’ve seen ratings down 8 percent for the season,” said Steve Ritchie, Papa John’s International Inc. president and chief operating officer, during an earnings call Wednesday, according to Nation’s Restaurant News. “We’ve made a significant investment in the NFL. An 8-percent decline in ratings played a small factor in some of our performance.”

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This past football season, Papa John’s utilized Peyton Manning as its official spokesperson, and has used NFL logos in advertisements and social media. In 2016, NFL TV ratings slowed down and Peyton Manning’s Broncos did not make the playoffs, which Papa John’s executives have mentioned as a major source for the disappointing financial results.