Pizza Company Blames NFL Controversy On Slumping Sales

Papa John's Pulls NFL Ads: Anthem Protests Are Hurting Business

Papa John's has been listed as the official pizza of the National Football League since 2010, and the company states that a decline in viewership and negative consumer sentiments led to the sales slump. Nielsen ratings were down 5% for the first eight weeks of the current season from the same period in 2016, and down 18.7% from 2015. And Papa John's founder and CEO John Schnatter wasn't shy about who he thinks is to blame for the "debacle": Commissioner Roger Goodell.

The company added 130 net worldwide units over the trailing four quarters with more than 1,000 restaurants in the development pipeline as of September 24, including more than 200 units in North America and 800 units internationally, most of which will open within the next six years.

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.

But not everyone was buying the league as a scapegoat. "Severe weather had an impact in the quarter as well as some industry-wide challenges", said CFRA equity analyst Efraim Levy.

Iraqi Army Takes Over Turkey Border Crossing From Kurds, Turkish PM Says
The United States had urged the Kurds not to hold the referendum, anxious it would precipitate a backlash. They seized control of the Kirkuk, Baba Gurgur and Avana oilfields.

Papa John's has a significant partnership with the NFL. In addition, the company has local tie-ins, like offering free toppings in the Washington, D.C., area for touchdowns the Redskins score.

NFL owners and executives have been scrambling to determine the best response to players kneeling during the national anthem this season, a movement started past year by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to denounce police brutality against African-Americans, social injustice and racial inequality. "NFL leadership has hurt Papa John's shareholders". Last month, Vice President Mike Pence left an Indianapolis Colts game after San Francisco 49ers' players took a knee during the anthem.

Papa John's could have a valid argument here.

Wall Street reacted negatively to Papa John's latest set of results, with stock in the company plunging by almost nine percent on Wednesday.

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