ESPN has landed a talent touchdown.
After years of trying to secure top sports celebrities to boost its flagship “Monday Night Football” coverage, the Disney-backed sports outlet said it has enlisted both Peyton and Eli Manning to co-anchor a second broadcast of its signature show, starting this fall. The famous football brothers will lead the new broadcast on ESPN2, and the sports-media giant said it may also place their show on its streaming-video ESPN Plus. The pair will start their duties in the fall of 2021 and continue through the 2023 season, handling a total of 30 games over three seasons.
“Offering multiple ‘Monday Night Football’ viewing options for the next three seasons continues our innovation efforts and provides additional value for our fans,” said Jimmy Pitaro, chairman of ESPN and sports content for Disney. “Peyton and Eli will bring a different approach, delving into conversation about broader, big-picture topics while also honing in on the game, much like fans do when watching with their family and friends.”
ESPN will continue with its original “MNF” broadcast, which last season was led by Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, John Parry and veteran sideline reporter Lisa Salters. That broadcast will air on ESPN, and, in some weeks, on ABC, and that team will return.
But the sports-media giant has for years longed for the presence of a sports commentator with celebrity status on “MNF.” Executives have for several years tried to lure Peyton Manning into the fold, and even considered hiring Tony Romo for the broadcast before CBS offered him a whopping $17 million per year to stick around for its Sunday-afternoon football showcase.
More to come…
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