Wednesday November 29, 2023

Arch Manning Mania: Welcome to Sports Media’s New Obsession

  • ESPN may nationally telecast two more Arch Manning high school games.
  • The 15-year-old quarterback is the nephew of Peyton and Eli Manning.
arch manning
Derick Hingle Photography
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

Meet sports media’s new favorite phenom: high school quarterback Arch Manning.

The 15-year-old nephew of Peyton and Eli Manning and grandson of Archie Manning is starting to receive the kind of national media coverage reserved for wunderkinds like LaMelo Ball, Bronny James, and LeBron James in his youth.

On Oct. 15, ESPN2 nationally televised the high school sophomore leading his undefeated Isidore Newman School to a 55-22 win over rival KIPP Booker T. Washington in New Orleans.

“Get your first look at the next great Manning QB tonight…The hype is real. This young Manning can straight up play,” tweeted ESPN play-by-play announcer Jay Alter. And the latest outbreak of Manning Mania is just getting started. 

Paragon Marketing Group negotiated the deal between ESPN and Isidore Newman to broadcast the matchup between the two schools, both of which were undefeated before the blowout.  

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Arch Manning could appear twice more on national TV before entering college as the most celebrated quarterback prospect since eventual national champion Trevor Lawrence of Clemson, according to Rashid Ghazi, a partner at the Illinois-based Paragon

“Our plan would be to approach the school about doing a game his junior year —as well as potentially doing a game his senior year,” Ghazi said. 

ESPN declined to comment. Isidore Newman administrators also declined to comment. A spokesman for the Manning Passing Academy said his family is mostly avoiding interviews this year so Arch can enjoy his time in high school and focus on his team.

The sports media love the Mannings because they drive TV ratings and page views. The first family of the NFL likes media attention. 

Sports TV personalities are already swooning over the new heir to the Manning dynasty. Arch is the son of Cooper Manning, the 46-year-old elder brother of Peyton and Eli, whose own football career was cut short by injury.

“There’s a LeBron-like feeling about Arch Manning. LBJ’s high school games got national television exposure in the early 2000’s,” tweeted Chris Mannix, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated. “Betting ESPN will give Manning — a sophomore — a lot of run on its networks, too. He looks like a special QB.”

After watching an elusive Arch run over and around would-be tacklers, ESPN’s Marcus Spears said the mobile young QB has something his uncles lacked: scrambling ability. The high schooler is ranked as the No. 1 QB prospect by 247 Sports for the class of 2023.

Paragon has delivered more than 700 high school games to ESPN channels over the past 18 years, including James’ national TV debut in 2002 as a 17-year-old star for St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio. There are multiple factors driving Arch Manning Mania. 

The so-called “insider media” dedicated to high school sports and player rankings has known about him since 7th grade, Ghazi said. Now the sports world at large is taking notice too. Sports fans love reading and hearing about teen sports prodigies. NFL fans are already day-dreaming about the Manning scion taking the snap for their favorite club in a few years.

“That world is starting to open up to who Arch Manning is,” Ghazi added. “I think they’ll only become more aware of him as he progresses through his high school career and people start to discuss what his college decision is going to be — and where he’s going to play.”

Then add the appeal of the Manning brand. Peyton, Eli and Archie Manning were all first-round picks in the NFL. Between them, Peyton and Eli have won four Super Bowls. Archie, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, and his three sons have operated the Manning Passing Academy for 25 years.

“The Mannings are a quarterback family. ESPN did a documentary called ‘The Book of Manning.’ They run a passing academy,” noted Ghazi. “So for the grandson and the nephew to be a top-flight quarterback as well? People are naturally interested in that story because of the athletic talent transferring at a super-high level through three generations.”

ESPN has tried multiple times to hire Peyton Manning as its lead “Monday Night Football” analyst. He has a streaming show on ESPN+ called “Peyton’s Places.” ESPN is playing a leading role in hyping the future Hall of Famer’s nephew.

On the day of ESPN2’s national telecast, the network posted a full writeup of the young phenom on 

ESPN personalities such as Linda Cohn and Field Yates then amplified the coverage by tweeting about the Manning scion on social media. 

The combination of the Manning moniker, ESPN and social media are creating more hype for Arch than any prospect Ghazi’s seen. 

Sports Networks Increasingly Interested in Showing High School Stars

LeBron ‘Bronny’ James Jr. Photo Credit: ESPN Is high school the next…
December 3, 2019

That includes the hoopla around Michael Jordan’s son Jeffrey Jordan. ESPN televised three high school basketball games involving the son of NBA superstar back in 2007. But Air Jordan’s oldest son never went pro.

“In my opinion, [Arch Manning] will most likely be the No. 1 overall player. But he’ll definitely be the No. 1 overall quarterback in his class. So whether or not Manning was his name, we would have put him on this year because he became a story last year,” Ghazi said. 

“But when you add the Manning legacy, and the name, and the fact that the talent is going from the grandfather down to the grandson, that’s truly unique and amazing.”

Off-the-field, Arch Manning has “massive” marketing potential if he makes it to the NFL, according to Bob Dorfman of Baker Street Advertising, who tracks the endorsement potential of athletes. Peyton has long been one of the most successful athletic endorsers on Madison Avenue. Eli has an extensive endorsement portfolio too.

“The Manning pedigree alone gives him a huge jump start over every other prospect: I can already imagine the ads alongside his uncles Peyton and Eli,” Dorfman said. “If he pans out as a player — and has even half the personality of his famous relatives — millions await.”

Derrick Henry stiff-arms Josh Norman

Rising NFL Star Derrick Henry Lands Old Spice Endorsement Deal

Titans running back Derrick Henry’s stiff-arm of Josh Norman was TV highlight…
October 23, 2020

There are no guarantees for Arch Manning. Other high school phenoms have come and gone without making much of an impact. But Bob Philp, a senior talent market executive, thinks the Manning scion will prove to be a “fascinating case study.”

With college athletes pushing hard to monetize their name, image, and likeness, Arch Manning could be a marketing star sooner than some think, he added.

“He’s only a year or two away, depending on how it all plays out in the college space. (NIL) is going to come sooner rather than later,” Philp said. 

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Greg Olsen's Coaching Ambitions Could Shake Up Fox Sports' NFL Broadcasts

The current No. 1 analyst could be a candidate for a head coaching job with the Carolina Panthers.

ESPN Investors Not A Sure Thing, Disney CEO Says

Disney is exploring selling a stake in ESPN.
Jalen Hurts

ESPN Draws NFL's Biggest TV Audience Of The Year

The network's telecast of Eagles at Chiefs averaged over 29 million viewers.
Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen of The Netherlands during the Las Vegas Grand Prix at Las Vegas Strip Circuit.

F1 Las Vegas Overnight Race Posts Strong Viewership

ESPN’s presentation of the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix averaged 1.3M viewers.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Report Claims Sports Illustrated Publishes AI-Generated Articles


Featured Today

Lane Kiffin

Ole Miss, Lane Kiffin Lawyers Argue for Dismissal of Player Lawsuit

FOS obtained audio of Lane Kiffin's interaction with the player behind lawsuit.
LSU Lady Tigers head coach Kim Mulkey reacts against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the NCAA Womens Basketball Final Four National Championship at American Airlines Center.
November 6, 2023

Who Is The Highest-Paid Women’s College Basketball Coach?

LSU rewarded Kim Mulkey after winning a national title after her second year leading the program.
The Pac-12’s Collapse Will Have Ripple Effects on College Basketball.
November 6, 2023

The Pac-12’s Collapse Will Have Ripple Effects on College Basketball

The existing Pac-12 host a college basketball season for the last time.
Favre Presley
November 3, 2023

Brett Favre Controversy Casts Shadow Over Mississippi Gubernatorial Race

Candidate Brandon Presley has made the scandal one of his talking points.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Multiple - USA Careers
Live Nation
Multiple - USA Careers
Saco Bay PT
Multiple - USA Careers
Green Bay Packers tight end Tucker Kraft celebrates a touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the first half at Ford Field in Detroit on Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023.

Football Dominates Thanksgiving, With A Side Of Basketball

Fox got its highest viewership for college basketball ever.
NASCAR president Steve Phelps speaks to the media prior to practice for the Cup Series Championship race at Phoenix Raceway.
November 28, 2023

NASCAR Set To Add At Least One New Broadcast Partner

Previous reports suggest that NASCAR will lean into streaming.
November 28, 2023

Sports Illustrated’s AI Controversy: What We Know, What’s Next

Union, corporate issues heightened amid AI-related controversy.

USGA’s Amanda Weiner on Delivering
Personalized Fan Experiences with
 AI and Automation

How the USGA is using AI to streamline content creation and distribution.
Covers of Sports Illustrated with photographs by Walter Iooss Jr. are on display at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art Thursday, March 3, 2022.
November 28, 2023

Sports Illustrated Reportedly Used AI to Create Stories

SI reportedly used AI to create articles and author profiles for stories.
November 26, 2023

Despite Lopsided Thanksgiving Games, NFL Continues Its TV Dominance

The Cowboys' win over the Commanders drew more than 40 million viewers.
amazon black friday nfl game. dolphins vs. jets.
November 23, 2023

Amazon Wants Black Friday NFL Viewers to Stay Seated — and Shop

Interactive ads will target a couch-ridden audience in a tryptophan daze.
November 21, 2023

NASCAR's Streaming Ambitions Could Be Final Piece Of Media Rights Puzzle

NASCAR is in the final stages of media rights negotiations.