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UNDRAFTED

The Remarkable Rise of Peyton Manning's Omaha Productions: From the Gridiron to a Billion-Dollar Media Empire

Omaha Productions, the brainchild of Manning, has swiftly emerged as a powerhouse in the sports media landscape. Collaborating with heavyweights like ESPN, Netflix, the NFL, and more

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In 2016, as Peyton Manning bid farewell to the NFL, the future Hall of Famer found himself at a crossroads. Retirement had opened up a world of possibilities for the two-time Super Bowl champion. Coaching offers and lucrative broadcasting deals awaited him, promising an easy transition to a comfortable post-football life cushioned by his $250 million career earnings. However, Manning chose a different path, one that has since seen him embark on a remarkable journey in the world of sports media.


Omaha Productions, the brainchild of Manning, has swiftly emerged as a powerhouse in the sports media landscape. Collaborating with heavyweights like ESPN, Netflix, the NFL, and more, this production company has stealthily infiltrated the airwaves, making its mark on sports enthusiasts worldwide.


But rewind to Manning's initial post-retirement dilemma; he was grappling with the uncertainty of what lay ahead. Understandably so, given his lifelong dedication to becoming one of the greatest football players in history. It was in this moment of uncertainty that WME superagent Josh Pyatt and sports media executive Jamie Horowitz made their pitch in 2020.


Pyatt, the mastermind behind LeBron James' SpringHill and Kobe Bryant's Granity, saw in Manning the potential to create a sports entertainment empire. Despite Manning's initial hesitation and desire to savor family time, Pyatt assured him of the flexibility to be as involved as he wished. Thus, Omaha Productions was born.


One of its standout projects, the ManningCast, redefined sports broadcasting during the pandemic. Peyton and his brother Eli transformed their garages into studios, offering a refreshing take on Monday Night Football broadcasts. Their lively banter and guest appearances from icons like Tom Brady, Barack Obama, Snoop Dogg, Dwayne Johnson, and LeBron James proved an instant hit, drawing a younger audience.


The numbers spoke volumes. The ManningCast averaged 1.6 million viewers in its inaugural season, followed by 1.3 million in the second. Yet, it wasn't just about the ratings; it was about capturing a new generation of fans who craved personality-driven content.


The ManningCast blueprint didn't stop at football. Omaha Productions replicated its success across various sports, partnering with the likes of Pat McAfee, Stephen A. Smith, Rob Gronkowski, Joe Buck, Michael Collins, Daniel Ricciardo, and Will Arnett. Additionally, the company ventured into Netflix, producing shows such as "Quarterback" and "King of Collectibles: The Goldin Touch." Their portfolio expanded to include commercials, NFL Honors, ESPYs, and ESPN+'s "PLACES" franchise, featuring stars like Abby Wambach, Vince Carter, David Ortiz, and Ronda Rousey.


Omaha's podcast network, boasting over 15 shows, further solidified its presence, featuring notable sports personalities like Mina Kimes, Kyle Brandt, Bob Myers, and Cam Heyward.


Financially, Omaha Productions has been no slouch. With 40+ employees, it's estimated to generate between $30 million to $50 million in annual revenue, with a $10 million investment from media mogul Peter Chernin valuing the company at over $400 million. Chernin, known for investments in companies like Barstool Sports, Oura, FOOD52, and Crunchyroll, clearly sees the potential in Manning's venture.


Omaha Productions, founded in 2020 and named after Manning's iconic "Omaha" audible call, is on an upward trajectory. As the streaming industry hungrily acquires unscripted sports content, Omaha's close relationship with ESPN provides a unique advantage.


Manning's deep commitment to the company suggests he may earn more from this venture than he did in his entire NFL career. With all signs pointing to success, a billion-dollar valuation for Omaha Productions doesn't seem far-fetched.

Austyn McFadden

@undraftednews

Monday, September 11, 2023

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