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Peyton Manning sells his Papa John's locations

But the former NFL quarterback will still be a company spokesman.
papa johns peyton manning

Peyton Manning is getting out of the pizza business.

The former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback has sold his stake in 31 Denver-area Papa John’s locations to another operator, the Louisville, Ky.-based chain confirmed Wednesday. The Denver Post first reported the sale.

Manning and Papa John’s owned the locations as part of a joint venture. The sale was official just two days before the company ceded its NFL sponsorshipto Pizza Hut.  

Manning will still be a spokesman for the pizza chain after the sale, the company said.

“After six successful and rewarding years, Peyton Manning and Papa John’s have sold their stake in 31 Papa John’s locations, which were part of a joint venture in the Denver, Colo., market,” the company said in an emailed statement. “Peyton remains an official Papa John’s spokesperson and brand ambassador as part of his long-term agreement with the brand.”

Papa John’s did not reveal the name of the buyer of those 31 locations, other than to say that it’s an existing franchisee that owns “a substantial number of Papa John’s in large markets.”

The operator assumed control of the locations on Feb. 26.

The sale of the restaurants came after a tumultuous run for the chain and its relationship with the NFL.

In November, Papa John’s founder John Schnatter blamed weak NFL ratings for his chain’s weakening sales. Indeed, fourth quarter same-store sales at the chain declined 3.9%.

Schnatter in December handed over the CEO job to Steve Ritchie. And then in February the company ended its NFL sponsorship and said that it would spend the year investing in its business.

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