He received much backlash and had to apologize.
Artie Starrs, Pizza Hut's USA president, stated: "The capacity for what's possible is endless, and that's going to make this league partnership great fun for Pizza Hut, the NFL and everyone who loves pizza and football". So long Papa John's, hello Pizza Hut. During Papa John's Q4 earnings call yesterday, Rhoten said that the company would now "deploy the cash toward the league's 32 teams and certain high-profile players".
The Papa John's store in Westminster, Colorado, August 1, 2017.
A day after severing ties with Papa John's, the NFL announced Wednesday, Feb. 28 it had reached a multi-year agreement with Pizza Hut to make it the new official pizza of the league.
Ritchie, then the company's president and chief operating officer, added that, as the NFL's most recognized sponsor, its success was linked to the league's and that he expected the sales slump "to persist" until "a solution is put in place" by the NFL for its player protests.
The partnership will officially kickoff around the time of the 2018 NFL Draft, which is being held at held at AT&T Stadium - the home of the Dallas Cowboys - in Arlington.
But Ritchie said the company's turnaround efforts include a new marketing campaign with "some value focus".
Company executives have identified digital growth, strategic partnerships and worldwide expansion as tent poles in its strategy to revive sales.
Schnatter, who exited the pizza chain a month later, said the league should have stopped players from kneeling during the national anthem immediately after former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick initiated the practice in 2016.
Papa John's will continue to frame this as a decision made to pull back on their marketing budget while the company isn't doing well. Along with outrage and ridicule over the comments, Papa John's had been named the official pizza of the alt-right by the Daily Stormer. "We think TV is an important place for us to play but we look at a lot of the things that the National Football League is doing in terms of their mobile partnerships ... we are going to go where the consumer goes".