"After six successful and rewarding years, Peyton Manning and Papa John's worldwide 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 a statement. That decision came after company founder John Schnatter blamed low pizza sales on NFL players protesting during the national anthem, because fewer people were ordering pizzas during games. Papa John's said it will focus instead on local partnerships with 22 of the NFL's 32 teams.
However, based on the money the former Colt and Bronco QB has earned during his playing and advertising career, money isn't likely to be the ultimate factor when it comes to his next career choice.
The NFL's ratings tanked 9.7 percent last season, following an eight percent dip from the year before.
But Collins also said Manning will remain a "brand ambassador" with the company as part of a 'long-term agreement'.
ESPN and Fox Sports are prepared to open the checkbook and write seven zeroes in the dollar column as a means to lure Peyton Manning into their respective broadcast booths.More news: Mhlengi Gwala, South African triathlete, attacked with chainsaw to legs
And now the rift between Papa John's, which was the official pizza of the NFL until just a few days ago (when Pizza Hut got the nod), and the league has grown just a little wider, especially right here in Denver.
Schnatter remains a Papa John's chairman and his face still appears on the company's pizza boxes. "Also, Papa John's being the Official Pizza of the Denver Broncos makes this even more exciting".
Just two days before Papa John's and the National Football League ended their official sponsorship in late February, one of the pizza chain's most recognizable faces made a significant change as well.
Schnatter later apologized for his remarks.
The company said the new owner of Manning's Denver locations plans to rehire all existing employees.