Denver Broncos fans have been pining for Peyton Manning ever since he hoisted the Lombardi Trophy victoriously in Super Bowl 50 and promptly hung up his cleats. Fans have hoped that Manning would throw his hat into the ring and join an NFL club in some sort of executive role.
So far, nothing on that front has materialized. Meanwhile, Manning has dipped his big toe in the media waters by spearheading his Peyton's Places show on ESPN+, of which there are two (excellent) seasons.
However, after rebuffing multiple network offers to call NFL games, The Sheriff has finally committed to a media job. On Monday, ESPN announced a new partnership with Peyton and his Omaha Productions company, joining his brother Eli Manning to host a Monday Night Football MegaCast.
ESPN's MNF production will still feature the team of Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, Lisa Salters, and John Parry for each of the 19 games, including a Week 18 doubleheader, while Peyton and Eli will simulcast 10 of the contests on ESPN 2.
The format will be different on the Manning brothers' show, which will at times feature different celebrities, and both current and former players. Here's how ESPN described the Manning MegaCast in its press release.
Produced by ESPN, in conjunction with Omaha Productions, the unique MegaCast option will originate from a remote location. Fans will be treated to a mix of in-the-moment analysis, big picture NFL dialogue, knee-jerk reaction, historical perspective, and more. Peyton and Eli will be joined each week by a to-be-determined host. Iconic and current athletes, as well as celebrities, are expected to appear throughout the season. Fans will never miss any of the action, as a multi-box viewing experience will ensure the game is always visible.
10 MNF broadcasts will feature the MegaCast on ESPN 2. While the likes of Levy, Griese, Riddick, Salters, and Parry will be on location at the stadium of each broadcasted game, the Manning brothers will be simulcasting remotely, freeing them up to delve into new frontiers of helping NFL fans consume and enjoy the game.
ESPN hopes the star power of having two former quarterbacks who boast four Super Bowl rings combined will help expand the network's reach. It's an interesting idea that could lead to something new and really cool for fans.
In an era where consumers have begun to abandon the traditional gatekeepers of media, from radio to network television, to gravitate toward long-form podcasts and online streaming, ESPN's new approach with the Mannings could strike a nerve and pay some serious dividends down the line.
For now, Peyton and Eli will MegaCast 10 games in each of the 2021, 2022, and 2023 seasons. What happens from there remains to be seen. But in a year that will see Peyton be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on his first ballot, Broncos fans are poised to get more access to the NFL's only five-time MVP than perhaps ever before.
“This partnership with ESPN and The Walt Disney Company reflects an ongoing, shared commitment to offering fans fun, innovative content,” Peyton Manning said. “ESPN+ has been a terrific partner for Omaha Productions as we built out The Places franchise and we’re excited to co-create a new MegaCast format that will have something for everyone.”
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