Papa John's, NFL make 'mutual decision' to end sponsorship deal
Papa John's is no longer the official pizza of the NFL.
According to a report from ESPN, CEO Steve Ritchie made the announcement during the company's earnings conference call, saying the league and the company mutually decided it was in their best interests.
"The NFL and Papa John's have made a mutual decision to shift from their official league sponsorship to a focus on partnerships with 22 local NFL teams, presence in broadcast and digital media, and key personalities in the sport," the league and company said in a joint statement.
The company will continue to invest in the NFL through its local-market deals with 22 teams, however, it will not be present for major league events like the NFL Draft and the Super Bowl.
The move comes about four months after Papa John's CEO John Schnatter criticized the NFL for not disciplining players who kneeled during the national anthem. Schnatter apologized 12 days later, after the company's stock had dropped 12 percent.
Papa John's became the official pizza of the NFL in 2010. The league is expected to find a new pizza sponsor before the start of the 2018 season.