Papa John's International is ending its sponsorship of the National Football League after a decline in TV ratings and a controversy over player protests.
Rather than serving as the league's official pizza, the company said on Tuesday that it will focus on doing marketing with 22 specific NFL teams. The move is part of an attempt to overhaul Papa John's marketing under a new CEO, who took the helm last month, and a new chief marketing officer, who joined the chain last year.
The NFL partnership has been strained since Papa John's founder John Schnatter slammed the league in November, saying that declining ratings had hurt sales. He also said that Commissioner Roger Goodell mishandled a controversy over NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.