Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Papa John's Gets Pizza Price Wrong -- Way Wrong

Lebron James

As I could have predicted, Papa John's 23-cent pizza idea backfired yesterday.

So many people showed up at the 86 stores throughout Ohio that mayhem reportedly ensued.

Meant to be a goodwill gesture after a Washington D.C. Papa John's location printed LeBron James "Crybaby 23" shirts for the first round of the playoffs against the Wizards, someone tried to be cute with the "23" and got the decimal point wrong.

It was a good idea to make up for a franchisee's idiotic move -- attaching the brand to a taunting T-shirt, but I'm not sure how Tim North, Papa John's northeast region vice president, could really tell the Cleveland Plain Dealer this: "We're certainly a bit surprised about how darn popular this is."

Really? You didn't think the masses would show up for a quarter pie?

One could argue that Papa John's -- which sold about 75,000 pizza pies -- will still make out. They'll lose money, but they gained plenty in publicity and sampling. I'm in the camp that they could have just done about the same thing, raised the price to $2.30, reduced the redemption to about 55,000 and saved themselves all the trouble.

Questions?  Comments?