Following protest controversy, Pizza Hut replaces Papa John’s as official pizza of the NFL

One day after Papa John’s announced it would end its endorsement deal with the NFL, Pizza Hut announced it will be the league’s new official pizza sponsor.

Papa John’s will end its deal with the NFL next season. The announcement came two months after Papa John’s founder and CEO, John Schnatter, stepped down after making remarks critical of the NFL.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Kavanaugh hailed by conservative gathering in first public speech since confirmation MORE has called on NFL team owner to fire players who protest by kneeling during the pre-game national anthem. According to Schnatter, the controversy hurt business in part because the NFL failed to adequately address it. 


Pizza Hut’s “multi-year agreement” will allow the company marketing rights to the NFL and its players, events and partners.

“We know many of our fans enjoy pizza while watching NFL games and we are thrilled to have Pizza Hut, an industry leader and one of America’s favorite brands, as an official league sponsor,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. 

After their split, Papa John’s and the NFL said the pizza company will now instead have relationships with local NFL teams and personalities.

"The NFL and Papa John's have made a mutual decision to shift from their official league sponsorship to a focus on partnerships with 22 local NFL teams, presence in broadcast and digital media, and key personalities in the sport," both groups said in a joint statement earlier this week.