Papa John's drops after killing its sponsorship deal with the NFL

  • Papa John's stock took a dive after the company announced it ended its sponsorship deal with the National Football League.
  • The company's executives said "negative consumer sentiment" around the NFL's handling of the protests last Fall contributed to its poor sales.
  • View Papa John's stock move in real time here.

Shares of Papa John's fell 5% after the company announced it was ending its sponsorship deal with the National Football League.

The pizza chain has faced some backlash after its founder and former CEO John Schnatter criticized the NFL over its "poor leadership" in handling its players' protests last fall. The company also reported subpar sales in November.

Company' executives said on an investor call Tuesday that "negative consumer sentiment" contributed to its sales slump in the fourth quarter as well. Papa John's reported comparable sales dropped 3.9% in North America. 

Schnatter's statements on the NFL pulled Papa John's into the middle of a contentious debate, inspiring backlash from the left and support from the right. Schnatter stepped down from his role as CEO in December. He was succeeded by Steve Ritchie. 

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A Domino's Pizza sign stands above the entrance to a Domino's Pizza Group Plc store in Hanwell, London, U.K., on Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. Domino's Pizza said given continued strong new store performance and positive outlook both for its market and brand, it is increasing its long term target for the U.K. to 1,600 stores. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ritchie said it was a "mutual decision" to end the company's NFL sponsorship, and it would instead shift its marketing from its broader NFL sponsorship to specific teams and players.

The chain also plans to redirect its investments towards new technologies because 60% of the chain's sales came from digital channels.

Papa John's stock was trading at $53.51 a share. It was down 6.22% for the year. 

Read more about how this burger food chain has impressed Wall Street with its latest earnings. 

SEE ALSO: Shake Shack crushes earnings, gives disappointing guidance  

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