Peyton Manning’s post-retirement aspirations include ownership, or a front office role similar to John Elway with the Denver Broncos. He hasn’t expressed much of an interest in broadcasting, which is causing network’s to throw even more money his way to attract him.
For years, networks have targeted Manning as a broadcast analyst, and with two prominent positions available, Fox and ESPN are prepared to open the checkbook in a big way. According to Michael McCarthy of Sporting News, Manning will receive offers of up to $10 million annually to join the Monday Night Football or Thursday Night Football broadcast.
According to Jim Miller, Jon Gruden was ESPN’s highest paid employee, making $6.5 million annually as of 2015. Losing Gruden to a $10 million per year job as head coach of the Raiders has ESPN looking to make a splash to fill their Monday Night Football void. Fox, who shocked the industry by spending $3 billion on broadcast rights for Thursday Night Football, also feels pressure to hire an analyst that will generate excitement.
In an interview with Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated, ESPN executive Stephanie Druley confirmed their interest in getting Manning in their MNF booth to replace Gruden: “We would be foolish not to talk to him.”
After the success of Tony Romo’s first season as an analyst for CBS, rival networks are looking for a similar high profile talent to bring in. Manning has always looked comfortable in front of the camera and some believe his personality and popularity are such that will attract viewers regardless of the NFL matchup being broadcast.
With two networks competing to fill high-profile jobs and trying to attract viewers after consecutive seasons of declining ratings, it’s the perfect storm for Manning to receive a very lucrative deal.