Peyton Manning sells stake in more than two dozen Papa John's locations

Papa John’s pizza needs a new advertising focus now that it has ended its longtime sponsorship of pro football. Company founder John Schnatter far right with NFL greats from left former quarterback Joe Montana JJ Watts of the Houston Texans and

Although Manning no longer owns stores, he still remains a "spokesperson and brand ambassador" for Papa John's in part to a long-term agreement the two parties have, USA Today reported. "Thus we will shift our marketing from the broader NFL sponsorship to focus on our partnership with 22 specific NFL teams, a significant presence on league broadcast and digital platforms and on our relationships with numerous league's most popular players and personalities".

The move comes after Papa John's and the NFL mutually parted ways from a sponsorship deal in the wake of CEO John Schnatter's statement blaming low pizza sales on NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.

Peyton Manning could receive $10 million annually to replace Jon Gruden at ESPN if he's willing to become the network's lead National Football League analyst. The Louisville, Kentucky-based company distanced itself from the group, saying that it did not want them to buy their pizza.

When Manning first signed with the Broncos in 2012, he also acquired 31 Denver Papa John's franchises as part of a joint venture with Papa John's global.

Manning, who retired as the Denver Broncos' quarterback after winning Super Bowl 50 two years ago, could not be reached for comment.

"The NFL has hurt us", Schnatter said in a November conference call. "Also, Papa John's being the Official Pizza of the Denver Broncos makes this even more exciting". "Actions are underway to improve our brand proposition, how we connect with customers, and how we operate at the unit level".

Peyton Manning has sold the stake in all his Denver-area Papa John's locations. Revenues for the quarter totaled $467,606,000, up from $439,619,000 reported in the fourth quarter of 2016.

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