Papa John’s Stock Plummets After NFL Sponsorship Deal Ends

February 28, 2018, 11:26 AM UTC

Papa John’s stock tanked after the company and the NFL mutually decided to end the pizza firm’s sponsorship of the professional football league, and after Papa John’s missed analyst expectations for the fourth quarter of last year.

The company made $28.5 million on revenues of $467.6 million. Adjusted earnings were down year-on-year from 69 cents per share to 65 cents per share—Wall Street had been expecting 70 cents.

Papa John’s (PZZA) shares were down 1.59% during Tuesday trading, before falling another 7% after trading closed.

Papa John’s founder John Schnatter, who stepped down as CEO at the end of last year, had blamed falling sales on the NFL’s failure to resolve the raging controversy over players taking a knee during the national anthem, in order to protest against police brutality.

The company will still sponsor 22 local NFL teams and “key personalities in the sport,” it and the league said in a joint statement.

However, the NFL will announce a different pizza company as league sponsor before the opening of this year’s football season.

New CEO Steve Ritchie said Tuesday that Papa John’s expects to see “marked improvements in sales later in 2018,” thanks to “actions [that] are underway to improve our brand proposition, how we connect with customers, and how we operate at the unit level.”