ESPN unveiled the ManningCast in 2021, striking gold with a simulcast featuring Eli and Peyton Manning for Monday Night Football. With the network now welcoming Troy Aikman and Joe Buck to its primary broadcasting booth, Disney could be pouring out astonishing money for its four broadcasters.
After losing Jon Gruden, ESPN attempted multiple broadcasters in its booth for NFL broadcasts on Monday nights. However, the musical chairs never found a star and the lack of cohesion seemingly pushed the company to go after the big fish in 2022.
First, ESPN hired Troy Aikman to a five-year, $92.5 million contract. A few weeks later, Disney agreed to a trade with Fox to land Joe Buck, reportedly agreeing to terms on a five-year deal worth around $60-$75 million per year.
It’s a massive investment for the company, one that will cost at least at least $30 million for just two broadcasters each NFL season. However, per the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand, maintaining the Manningcast will push that total even higher.
“While the Mannings’ exact salaries are unknown for their acclaimed Manningcast, it is at least in the Aikman neighborhood. Their agreement, which was recently extended, also includes Omaha Productions, which produces “Peyton’s Places,” and is scheduled to add more alternative broadcasts for other sports. This complicates how to calculate the Mannings’ exact per game rate.”New York Post’s Andrew Marchand on estimated Eli & Peyton Manning salary
Even operating off a conservative estimate, the Manning brothers could be pulling in at least $12 million per season. If they are much closer to Aikman’s salary ($18.5 million), then it’s realistic to think the Manningcast will cost at least $16 million annually under the new agreement.
Keep in mind, ESPN has often found itself at the bottom of the pecking order for selecting primetime games in recent years. Given the recent contract signed with the NFL – an 11-year deal that includes broadcasting rights for Wild Card Games – it would be one of the biggest commitments from a network to live NFL games.
Time will tell whether or not all of the money being spent on the Manningcast and Monday Night Football is worth it. But at a time when Amazon wants to become one of the NFL’s biggest partners, landing Kirk Herbstreit and luring in Al Michaels, ESPN might have seen this as their only choice.