via ESPN

The ManningCast has been a relatively unqualified success by just about any measure.

It’s attracted and held an audience, been met with plenty of deserved critical acclaim, and has led to plenty of viral social media moments throughout the inaugural season. It’s gone so well, in fact, that despite not yet completing the first year of a three-year deal with ESPN, there’s already speculation that the entire thing could be poached by another outlet once the ESPN deal expires.

According to Michael McCarthy at Front Office Sports, Amazon is interested in pairing Peyton and Eli with Thursday Night Football, which will be moving exclusively to Amazon in 2022.

Andy Jassy, the new president and chief executive officer of Amazon, is a “huge sports fan” noted one sports TV executive. With 2020 sales of $386 billion, Amazon could pay whatever it takes to land the brothers as it takes over exclusive national coverage of TNF in 2022.

“Amazon could just come in with a ton of money for the show — plus Amazon Prime content deals for Omaha — then move ManningCast over in two years,” said the source.

None of the parties involved commented, as you’d expect, and McCarthy notes that ESPN might have an exclusive negotiating window in place to retain the pr0gram before an outside network/streaming platform could make a run at taking it away.

So, could the ManningCast end up moving to Amazon?

Well, sure, it’s possible. Amazon is one of the only corporations in the world that can match Disney in terms of spending, after all, and there have been plenty of reports that they very much want to be taken seriously with their Thursday Night Football coverage. McCarthy notes the possible synergy options for Omaha Productions within Amazon as well.

Is it likely?

That’s harder to see. Monday Night Football is still Monday Night Football, and ESPN/Disney have worked very, very hard to shore up their relationship with the NFL. That includes the ManningCast calling a playoff game, and with ABC returning to the Super Bowl rotation in 2026, it’s not hard to see a scenario where Peyton and Eli feature in that coverage in some way, if they’re still interested in doing this for ten weeks a year. Plus, while streaming is probably the future, it’s not immediately going to provide a larger audience than the current linear setup, and that’s likely to be the case for at least as long as Peyton and Eli would want to keep doing this. (And ESPN+ is already soaking up any of that audience migration anyway.) Disney offers just as much if not more synergy for any supplemental production deals.

Putting the speculation cap on, it feels more likely that while, yes, other outlets would want to grab this property (which would basically be plug and play anywhere), it’s easier to see a world in which ESPN moves early to lock things down on a longer-term basis, perhaps with more weeks per season as well. Obviously, as with everything ManningCast related, that’s only if the Mannings want to do it.

They pretty much have all the leverage in this situation, because they’re the entire franchise.

[Front Office Sports]

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a columnist at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer. He is probably talking to a dog in a silly voice at this very moment.