Amazon is continuing its quest to make Thursday Night Football the best night for NFL games as the streaming giant is reportedly interested in obtaining the ‘Manningcast’ from ESPN, according to a new report by Front Office Sports.
From the report, Peyton Manning’s Omaha Production signed a 3-year deal with The Walt Disney Company, which contracted Peyton and his brother Eli to call an alternate broadcast of 10 Monday Night Football games per season from 2021 to 2023.
The ManningCast has been very popular since its introduction earlier this season. The brothers are joined by a plethora of guests each week, which has included Charles Barkley, Tom Brady, Marshawn Lynch, Joe Buck, and more. According to ESPN, the Week 11 telecast drew 1.63 million viewers on ESPN2 and was the 7th most-watched alternate telecasts since 2014.
The Front Office Sports report does note that ESPN will likely have an exclusive window to renew with the Mannings and Omaha before they can talk to other suitors in 2022. However, Amazon and ESPN declined to comment on the Front Office Sports report but the source FOS spoke to said the following:
“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.
Amazon’s deep pockets and its hunger for acquiring live sports for Prime Video is what sets it apart from the NFL’s other partners. Beginning with the 2022 season, Amazon’s Prime Video will be the exclusive home of Thursday Night Football, which is a big reason why the streamer is trying to bolster their presentation of the game. Not only has it been reported that they’re interested in the Mannings, but there are talks of creating a “dream team” duo of Al Michaels and Troy Aikman in the booth once Prime Video becomes the exclusive home of TNF.
For their part, FOX and NBC may try to do whatever they can to keep Aikman and Michaels from heading over to the streaming behemoth. These networks along with CBS are dark horses to vie the ManningCast away from ESPN.
Also, the Amazon and NFL relationship seems to be picking up some steam. There are reports of the streaming service becoming one of the favorites to land NFL Sunday Ticket, as the league views it as “a streaming product.” Earlier this season, Prime Video introduced on-screen fan polling via its X-ray feature to allow fans to interact with each other in real-time by answering predictive questions during the game. In addition to the on-field product, Amazon is reportedly the favorite to land a 49% stake in the NFL’s media properties (NFL.com, NFL Network, NFL app, etc.)
There are talks of shifting the ManningCast from ESPN 2 to ESPN+, which is the home to other shows featuring the Mannings such as Detail, Peyton’s Places, Eli’s Places, and future Omaha produced shows featuring Abby Wambach, David Ortiz, Vince Carter and Ronda Rousey in the Places franchise. While speaking on a shift to ESPN+, the FOS report stated:
“Why mess with success?” asked another source. “Don’t forget the NFL would probably have to approve. The league loves what ESPN is doing with the Mannings on TV. Does the NFL want ManningCast to be a streaming-only property?”
Fans will have to wait and see if Omaha and ESPN will be able to work out a deal or call an audible to keep the ManningCast on the platform, or if Amazon will be able to intercept it away to create a TNF Megacast.