The strength and recognition of the Papa John’s brand is at an all-time high, at least with avid NFL fans. According to the results of the seventh annual NFL sponsor awareness survey released this week by Turnkey Intelligence for SportsBusiness Journal/Daily, Papa John’s was the brand most identified by avid NFL fans as an NFL sponsor. “We are very humbled by our results with the NFL and are flattered to be mentioned in the same company as great brands such as Gatorade and Pepsi,” said John Schnatter, Papa John’s Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “I think this is attributable to the collaborative relationship we have with our franchisees, our corporate operators and our customers. Furthermore, I’d be remiss not to give a shout-out to our fantastic marketing team and our relationship with Peyton Manning and Jim Nantz.” According to the survey, more than 62 percent of avid fans correctly identified Papa John’s as the official pizza of the NFL, representing a 13 percent increase over 2012. That increase was the largest change among all 68 brands measured in the survey. “Our partnership with the powerful NFL brand and our relationship with Peyton Manning and Jim Nantz have been focused on driving quality brand equity while building a rapport with the great fans of the NFL,” said Andrew Varga, Papa John’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Our strategy has been successful, in part, because we’ve been able to leverage many of the NFL brand assets as well, including being the Official Pizza of about half of the NFL teams, and partnering with Peyton Manning on a season-long ad campaign.” Papa John’s enhanced its NFL sponsorship this past season by partnering with Manning for an ad campaign featuring the Denver Broncos quarterback and Schnatter, culminating in its Super Bowl Coin Toss Promotion and commercial that also featured sportscaster Nantz. Manning also became a Papa John’s franchisee, partnering in 22 restaurants in the Denver market last October.