Nov 19, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Former Denver Bronco quarterback Peyton Manning before the game at Empower Field at Mile High. Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Peyton Manning has been a bit of a Renaissance man in his post-playing career.

Founded in 2020, Manning’s Omaha Productions started with Peyton’s Places documentaries on ESPN+. In 2021, they launched The ManningCast, an alternate Monday Night Football broadcast featuring Peyton and brother Eli Manning. The show’s success led to a contract extension through 2024 and potential expansion into other sports with ESPN. In 2023, Omaha Productions received a major investment, valuing the company at $400 million. The company is now a big player in the world of sports docuseries and programming.

Manning has carved out a lane for himself, but that lane still needs clarification.

The former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback’s accolades mentioned above also should include his joining Mike Tirico and Kelly Clarkson to host NBC’s Paris Olympics opening ceremony this summer. Manning is synonymous with the NFL and football, but neither has anything to do with the Summer Games.

That begs the question: What is Manning’s ultimate goal in his media career?

This topic sparked a lively discussion on The Sports Media Podcast, exploring whether Manning aims to become a media star beyond the realm of football.

“You look at his post-playing career, and it could not have gone, I don’t think, any better,” said Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones. “It’s planned out as well as can be. He’s a great pitchman with the commercials for Nationwide and Subway and Papa John’s and all that. He has the ManningCast with his brother, Omaha Productions, which is just doing great. But now, he’s taking it to — I think — a new level by being named as one of the co-hosts of the NBC Opening Ceremony host for the Olympics.

“This is, I think, a really big deal. It takes him in front of an audience that normally doesn’t see him. There’s a lot of sports fans, obviously, who watch the Olympics. But the Opening Ceremonies is sort of a different animal. This is more to use a comparison like a Today Show crowd, kind of just the general TV viewers who’s interested in the Olympics. And so, for him to go there, he’s going to be in front of 16-18 million people…I just think this takes him to a different level.”

The ’24 summer games in Paris have Jones curious about Manning’s future plans. If the chemistry with Tirico and Clarkson clicks and avoids falling flat with cheesy jokes, it could be a launching pad, potentially propelling him toward a successful broadcasting career outside of football, like Michael Strahan or Nate Burleson.

“I don’t know that he wants to do something like that,” added Jones. “But certainly, the career he’s taken afterward, he could do something like that.”

“I could not agree more that his playing career has been incredibly successful,” added SBJ’s Austin Karp. “The only thing that I will differ from you on is I don’t see him in a Strahan or Burleson role. I think his lane might be more in sports. But as you said, the Opening Ceremony — I think that’s gonna be the most-watched night of the Paris Olympics…”

While Peyton Manning hasn’t revealed his long-term media plans, his latest venture suggests a willingness to explore opportunities beyond football broadcasting. And that hints at him being a major player in the world of media, not just in sports media.

[The Sports Media Podcast]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.