Wednesday September 27, 2023
The Best Employers in Sports Survey is Now Open!

ESPN Considering $20 Million Offer To Peyton Manning For Monday Night Football

  • The amount would eclipse Tony Romo’s record-setting $17 million annual salary at CBS.
  • ESPN pays the NFL $1.9 billion a year for the rights to air Monday Night Football.
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Front Office Sports Today

Writer’s Strike End a Boon for Sports Networks, Agencies

We delve into the potential long-term impact of the five-month strike.
Listen Now
September 26, 2023 | Podcast
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

Tony Romo could have the shortest reign ever as the highest-paid sports TV analyst in history. 

ESPN is preparing to offer Peyton Manning a record $18 million to $20 million a year to serve as lead analyst for “Monday Night Football,” sources tell Front Office Sports. 

If so, that would eclipse Romo’s new multi-year contract from CBS Sports that will pay him $17 million annually.

The 43-year old Manning met with ESPN executives over the last few days, sources said. The two-time Super Bowl winner with the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts has an existing business relationship with ESPN, hosting the 30-episode “Peyton’s Places” documentary series on ESPN+.

ESPN declined to comment. 

ESPN pays the NFL $1.9 billion a year for the rights to air MNF – double the $950 million paid by NBC for the higher-rated “Sunday Night Football.” 

Despite the hefty price tag, ESPN’s all-out pursuit of Manning could make business sense.

ESPN will be the first network to negotiate its TV deal with the league. The network’s MNF contract is up after the 2021 season. NBC’s SNF deal runs through the 2022 season, as do CBS and Fox’s respective Sunday afternoon game packages.

The network’s MNF booth of Booger McFarland and Joe Tessitore was viewed by many as the weakest TV team last season, behind Romo and Jim Nantz at CBS, Cris Collinsworth and Al Michaels at NBC and Troy Aikman and Joe Buck at Fox. 

During his 17-year career, Manning won two Super Bowls and five MVP awards. He also remains one of the league’s most popular players, with a 79 percent favorability rating among fans, according to a Morning Consult poll.

Manning is viewed by many as a natural for the TV booth and a good fit to announce today’s pass-happy NFL. He has been featured in numerous national advertising campaigns for sponsors such as Nationwide Insurance and hosted “Saturday Night Live.”

READ MORE: Dallas Cowboys Still America’s Team in TV Ratings

Additionally, ESPN views Manning as the ticket to finally breaking into the Super Bowl TV rotation, sources said, while also becoming the face of ESPN’s TV coverage just in time for the next billion-dollar round of negotiations on TV contracts. 

ESPN also narrowly missed on landing Romo. In fact, sources close to Romo believed he was heading to MNF before CBS changed its mind and shut out ESPN with a higher offer for the 39-year old Romo.

This will be the third time ESPN has pursued Peyton Manning for the MNF job. He’s turned it down twice before. 

Up until now, said sources, Manning has been more interested in running or owning a team similar to  John Elway of the Broncos or Derek Jeter of the Miami Marlins.

Manning pocketed career earnings of $252,280,004 during his on-field career, according to Spotrac

Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys, the last NFL star to move straight into the MNF broadcast booth, lasting one year before returning to the field. 

READ MORE: Tony Romo To Stay With CBS For $17 Million Annually

The perfectionist Manning might not want to be unfavorably compared to Romo, the most popular NFL TV analyst since John Madden, a source said.

“After beating him on the field, why would Peyton Manning want to be judged against Tony Romo on TV every week,” said one source.

If ESPN can’t land Manning, Kurt Warner of NFL Network could be Plan B, sources said. Internally at ESPN, Louis Riddick, Matt Hasselbeck, and Dan Orlovsky are seen as candidates to succeed McFarland if ESPN makes a change as expected in the broadcast booth. McFarland could easily slide back to covering college football.    

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

A Chicago Bears helmet.

Arlington Heights Looks To Break Stadium Logjam With Bears

Village board cites striking Bears deal as its top priority

NFL's Swift Mania Starting To Show Impact Through Merch Sales, Viewership

Taylor Swift stole the NFL's spotlight by attending Sunday's Chiefs game.
Chiefs-Bears was the most-watched NFL game on any network this week — averaging 24.3 million viewers on FOX.

CBS Nets 13-Year High in September NFL Viewership

This month’s NFL on CBS broadcasts averaged 18.69 million viewers.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow throws a pass in the first quarter of the NFL game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams at Paycor Stadium.

NFL Fans Can Now Bet On Games While Streaming

BetVision will allow users to bet while watching NFL games.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Writer’s Strike End a Boon for Sports Networks, Agencies


Featured Today

First Take vs. FS1

Sharpe: 'First Take' Would Still Beat 'Undisputed' Without Stephen A.

Even if Smith leaves, Sharpe said he will still beat Skip Bayless in the ratings.
September 25, 2023

Oakland-MLB Relationship Devolves Into Next-Level Toxicity

Commissioner, mayor have very different accounts of July meeting
Jacksonville Jaguars Team President Mark Lamping addressed community members at Strings Sports Brewery on Main Street for the first of 14 planned town hall sessions to present the team's plans for the new "stadium of the future" complex and address the public concerns.
September 25, 2023

Jacksonville Jaguars President Walks Back Stadium ‘Threat’

"Viewing those comments as a threat to leave Jacksonville isn't correct."
Chatri Sityodtong
September 25, 2023

ONE Championship's Quest To Challenge Rival UFC Through U.S. Expansion

Leveraging its Amazon deal, ONE Championship seeks to expand in U.S.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Chicago Cubs
New York
Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group, Inc.
USA - Multiple Locations
Coach Prime bringing improved tv ratings.

Coach Prime's Colorado Changing College Football Viewing Habits

The excitement around Deion Sanders and Colorado is helping drive record September TV ratings for college football.
Viewership for TNF on Amazon is up 21% through two weeks over last season.
September 26, 2023

Amazon Gets Back-to-Back 'Thursday Night Football' Ratings Wins

Amazon's TNF viewership is up 21% through two weeks over last season.
September 25, 2023

ESPN Reportedly Closing Studios In Aftermath Of Layoffs

ESPN's Seaport studio will reportedly close by 2025.
Ohio State players celebrate after after their defeat of Notre Dame in the final seconds at Notre Dame Stadium.
September 25, 2023

Ohio State-Notre Dame Scores Historic 10.5M Viewers for NBC

It was NBC’s second-most-watched regular-season college football game ever.
The in-market KnightTime+ streaming service will offer 69 regular-season games.
September 25, 2023

Vegas Golden Knights Launch New Streaming Model Amid RSN Fallout

The KnightTime+ streaming service will offer 69 regular-season games.
September 24, 2023

Fox Opts For College Sports Over WWE Post-UFC Merger

Fox has plenty of college sports to lean on in WWE's absence.
Deion Sanders with The Rock on ESPN's "College GameDay."
September 23, 2023

Deion Sanders Generated $45M In Earned Media For Colorado

From Sept.1-22, Sanders generated $45.7M for the public university.
Deion Sanders on College GameDay
September 22, 2023

ESPN Beats Rival Fox in Deion Sanders Bowl

ESPN’s “College GameDay” more than doubled the audience of Fox’s “Big Noon Kickoff” in Boulder.