Did Papa Johns Invest Too Much In The NFL?

Roger Goodell seems to have broken John Schnatter’s heart.




Another weekend and another NFL TV ratings test. It is absolutely insane to judge the National Football League by weekly television ratings when networks know when push comes to shove, the NFL is still delivering very high ratings in a fragmented TV market. But John Schnatter blamed declining sales at his Papa John’s fast food pizza franchises on slumping NFL TV ratings because of players protesting. It is too simplistic to blame Papa John’s sales decline on the NFL and players protesting during the playing of the National Anthem.  There probably are more reasons. There are many people who seem to be thinking along those same lines and actually rooting for the NFL to fail because the employers cannot control their employees from thinking about social issues when there is a game to be played.  Schnatter, who seems to be the ultimate jock sniffer, may have made a big mistake by putting most of his advertising dollars in the NFL. His other error? He has been very political in the past and as a business owner you might want to temper your political beliefs not to upset potential customers.


Schnatter is doing the very same thing the players are doing. Protesting. There is another question that comes up about sport advertising. Is it worth the cost? The operators of Safeco invested in the naming rights of the Seattle Mariners ballpark over a 20-year period and have decided it is not worth the cost and is not renewing the deal after 2018. Safeco is not alone. Companies advertising in sports seek a specific segment of the audience, young people. But are advertisers really reaching that audience or do companies invest in sports advertising so that some CEO could rub shoulders with Jerry Jones and Peyton Manning? There is no way of knowing whether NFL players protesting has hurt Papa John’s. But it sounds good.



Safeco has joined a long list of companies getting out of the sports stadium/arena naming rights business.