Things have been looking bleak for Papa John's ever since the Papa himself, John Schnatter, was caught using a racial slur on a conference call and quickly stepped down as the chairman of the company, as well as from his post on the University of Louisville's board of trustees.
With him leaving many questions arise, especially when it comes to his company, which he still has a major stake in. However, his resignation also brings up questions regarding another situation. Specifically a 65,000-seat question.
Important to note: according to @darrenrovell John Schnatter himself owns the naming rights of Cardinal Stadium. If he leaves the company, he can rename the building.— John Lewis WDRB (@JohnWDRB) July 12, 2018
Schnatter and the university, which already has enough dirt on its hands, gave $5 million donation to the school to gain naming rights for what became 'Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.' The important detail is that it Schnatter owns the rights personally, and Papa John's as a company has no stake in the matter; even with Papa out of the picture, he can technically propose re-naming the stadium absolutely whatever he wants.
(The university doesn't have to acquiesce, but still.)
Crazy that HE owns the naming rights to Louisville’s stadium. Not Papa Johns pic.twitter.com/olt7Fq1ld6— .... (@BeefCheeks_) July 12, 2018
He could move to name the stadium after himself, for all we know. He could also attempt to sell the rights to another enterprise entirely. Generally, it is pretty strange that the deal would be made with Schnatter personally rather than the company itself. After all, there would have been a better chance of a sustainable relationship.
Now that the man himself is gone, the stadium's name certainly needs to change. But how that process gets managed is anyone's guess.
Since he already has the power, why not just give the rights to KFC? They're in Kentucky, and the Cardinals' basketball stadium is already named for it. Besides, I'm not sure naming after yourself would be the best thing for Papa John after all that's happened.