Peyton Manning sells his Papa John's franchises before split with NFL

Tom Schad
CEO and Founder of Papa John’s John Schnatter, right, with Peyton Manning.
Source: Papa John's

Peyton Manning sold his stake in 31 Papa John's franchises late last month, just days before the chain relinquished its role as the official pizza of the NFL.

Papa John's spokesperson Peter Collins confirmed in an email to USA TODAY Sports that Manning, the former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback, sold his stake in the Denver-area stores on Feb. 26, after "six successful and rewarding years" of ownership.

Manning remains a "spokesperson and brand ambassador" for Papa John's as part of a long-term agreement between the two parties, Collins confirmed.

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Papa John's and the NFL ended their league sponsorship deal last week, describing it as a "mutual decision." There had been tension between the two businesses, who first partnered in 2010, after former Papa John's CEO John Schnatter blamed national-anthem protests in the NFL for the pizza chain's declining sales.

Schnatter's replacement, Steve Ritchie, said on an earnings call last week that Papa John's still has team partnerships with more than 20 NFL franchises, but it will not be able to use team or league logos in its promotions. Pizza Hut was announced as the new official pizza chain of the NFL the following day.

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