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Peyton Manning becomes Papa John's newest franchisee

Papa John's has teamed up with Denver Broncos' quarterback Peyton Manning in the past for a few promotions, but today that relationship has gone deeper.

Papa John's announced that it has signed Manning on to be its newest franchisee. He will own 21 restaurants in the Denver area.

"I've been a fan of Papa John's pizza for a long time, and now knowing John Schnatter, his team and the business intimately over the past year, I am thrilled to formally join Papa John's as a franchisee in partnership with the brand," Manning said in the announcement. "It's a smart investment now and will be long after I'm done playing football. I'm particularly impressed by John's drive to make everything about Papa John's better along with his ambition and plan to continue growing the brand around the world."

Manning's involvement with Papa John's dates to 2011, when he was featured in Papa John's efforts to market its Super Bowl XLVI Coin Toss Experience in which Papa John's awarded a free pizza and 2-liter Pepsi MAX to all members of its Papa Rewards online customer loyalty program.

Manning and Schnatter kicked off the 2012 NFL regular season by offering fans the chance to win another free large one-topping pizza. Featured in national television ads, Manning convinced Schnatter to give away 2 million large one-topping pizzas to Papa Rewards members throughout the regular season – double the number of pizzas Papa John's gave away last regular season.

"I don't know of a person or business partner who has a higher standard on quality or competes more fiercely than Peyton Manning — on and off the field," said John Schnatter, Papa John's founder, chairman and CEO. "Having Peyton as a franchisee is a huge win for our brand, especially for our customers in Denver, where our business has never been better."

Manning will discuss his status as a Papa John's franchisee on camera Sunday night during his appearance in a custom integration on NBC TV's "Football Night In America" telecast. Also during that time, Manning and Schnatter will unveil for fans another "big treat" for Halloween.

Papa John's is in the third year of a multi-year sponsorship with the NFL and is also the Official Pizza of 15 NFL teams, including the Denver Broncos.

Read more franchising news.

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