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Broncos' Manning Buys 21 Papa John's Franchises

Peyton Manning and Papa John's CEO John Schnatter in front of green screen

Quarterback Peyton Manning shoots a commercial with Papa John's CEO John Schnatter that aired Oct 28, announcing he is a franchisee. photo/Papa John's

Denver Broncos’ new quarterback Peyton Manning, the latest star in Papa John’s commercials, has become the pizza chains newest franchisee. The Louisville, Kentucky company announced last week that Manning will be opening 21 locations in the Denver area.

An MSN Money report states:

Peyton Manning, one of the greatest quarterbacks in history, has decided to put his money where his mouth is, literally, by buying 21 Papa John's (PZZA) restaurants in the Denver area -- a substantial investment in company where he has been a pitchman since 2011.

The article states this is a growing trend among pro athletes, a huge number of which find themselves in financial trouble after their playing days are over. 

Franchise consultant Michael Seid was interviewed for the story. He endorsed the Papa John’s chain saying it had a good reputation in the franchise industry. He commented,

It's a pretty stable investment. These are very stable organizations with disciplined cash flows and good returns on investments.

The report stated that 36-year old Manning will probably be a passive investor and hire a team to oversee day-to-day operations. Like any new business owner, Manning will have a learning curve.

One thing that he has going for him is that he is used to playing in a system designed by coaches to win football games. The same idea applies in franchises.

Papa John’s, the third-largest pizza chain in the world, is in its third year of a multi-year sponsorship agreement with the NFL. Having signed a five-year, $96 million contract with the Denver Broncos last March, Manning said,

It’s a smart investment now and will be long after I’m done playing football.

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About Janet Sparks

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Janet Sparks is the former publisher of the Continental Franchise Review, an industry newsletter that covered the franchise community for over 30 years. She has also been a columnist for a leading franchise magazine for the past 13 years. Today she is an independent journalist who engages in investigative reporting, tackling complex issues that impact the franchise industry.

Janet can be reached at or at 303-799-7398.