Pizza Hut Replacing Papa John’s As NFL Sponsor

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/CBSNews/AP) — Move over Papa John’s, the NFL has a new pizza sponsor.

The NFL announced a multiyear marketing deal with Pizza Hut on Wednesday, one day after the league and Papa John’s said they mutually agreed to cut ties.

The deal, which starts with the 2018 NFL draft, gives the Plano, Texas-based chain exclusive deals with the NFL’s 32 teams.

“With a focus on family, friends and fun, Pizza Hut has the creativity we are looking for in a partner and we look forward to working together with them to make the at-home NFL experience more exciting than ever for our fans.” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in the statement.

Papa John’s has been the league’s official sponsor since 2010. Its founder, John Schnatter, had blamed the company’s slumping sales on protests by NFL players, who knelt during the national anthem. Ousted as CEO in January, Schnatter remains on Papa John’s board of directors.

“NFL leadership has hurt Papa John’s shareholders,” Schnatter said on a November call with analysts. “This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago.”

Papa John’s reported fourth-quarter earnings below Wall Street expectations Wednesday, with its shares down more than 5 percent in premarket trading.

Pizza Hut is the largest pizza chain in the United States with more than 7,500 stores.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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