Peyton Manning has sold his stake in the 31 Denver-area Papa John’s franchises he owns according to the pizza chain’s spokesman Peter Collins.
Manning originally brought 21 franchises in 2012 after signing with the Broncos, but his decision to part ways with his franchises is only the latest bad public relations blow to befall Papa Johns. On Feb. 28, Papa John’s announced that their deal as the NFL’s official pizza sponsor was ending after eight years. In the aftermath of founder John Schnatter blaming poor leadership on the anthem protests by players as pizza sales diminished dramatically.
According to Collins, Manning sold his stake to an existing franchisee who owned locations in various markets. Papa John’s still retains marketing deals with 22 NFL teams.
The franchisee that purchased the market is excited about the future of our business and assumed ownership of all Papa John’s locations in the Denver, Co., market on Feb. 26, 2018,” Collins told the Denver Post.
If you’re worried about this being the end of a commercial era, fear not. The bromance between Manning and Schnatter isn’t completely over. Manning will remain as a celebrity pitchman and brand ambassador for the Kentucky-based pizza chain.