The Manning family has signed a multiyear partnership with Caesars Sportsbook to become ambassadors for the company’s growing sports gambling business.
Archie Manning and his three sons—Cooper and former NFL quarterbacks Peyton and Eli—will appear in Caesars ads and promos for the company’s sportsbook. They’ll also participate in member experiences through the Caesars rewards programs, one of the critical ways legacy casino companies are differentiating themselves from upstart online competitors.
Caesars Entertainment (Nasdaq: CZR) is already a partner on Archie Manning’s sports bar in New Orleans, adjacent to its Harrah’s casino. That preexisting relationship made this betting deal a “natural fit,” according to Chris Holdren, co-president of Caesars Digital.
“The Mannings are the first family of football,” Holdren said in an interview. “In over a third of the NFL’s 102 seasons, a Manning has been a starting quarterback. They are the preeminent family, and we are a family-led company.”
Holdren declined to comment on the terms of the deals, but a group with the fame and reach of the Mannings won’t come cheap. It’s also unclear if the family is receiving only cash, or some sort of equity package similar to what PointsBet gave retired quarterback Drew Brees earlier this year.
As sports betting spreads across the country, the biggest operators are in a race to outspend each other on customer acquisition. That includes TV ads and deals with leagues and teams, but also partnerships with celebrities to endorse and enhance their product.
It’s become a lucrative post-career opportunity for former athletes of varying fame. Brees has a multiyear deal with PointsBet, and five-time Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch works with BetMGM. Former pros like Rich Gannon (Parx Interactive), Mark Schlereth (BetRivers) and Nick Mangold (WynnBet) are also sportsbook ambassadors.
But few former NFL players have the reach and popularity of the Mannings. Archie played 13 NFL seasons, and Eli and Peyton, both first overall picks, won two Super Bowls each as two of the more prolific passers in NFL history. They’ve remained relevant since retiring as well, appearing in ad campaigns and hosting shows like Peyton’s Places and Eli’s Places. Cooper, the oldest brother, is currently in a national ad campaign with UberEats.
“We spent a lot of time talking about this opportunity and really doing our due diligence—on the industry, on Caesars, on our roles—before we made any decision,” Eli Manning said in an email. “The growth of sports betting over the past couple of years has been tremendous, and with it now integrated into every major sports league in some sense and partnered with many media outlets, it adds another layer of connection with fans. We are really looking forward to being part of that.”
Caesars works with leagues (like the NFL) and teams (like the Texans and Colts) primarily to gain access to their fans and season ticket holders, according to Holdren.
“With the Manning family we view it a little differently,” he said. “We’re looking forward to getting their advice as this business continues to grow. You won’t just see them in our advertising; our customers and Caesars Rewards members will have opportunities to interact with the Mannings, to meet them. There’s also going to be a heavy charity component.”
The Mannings are also particularly relevant in parts of the country that are critical to the Caesars business. In Mississippi, where Archie is from and Eli played in college, Caesars has multiple locations. The company also has casinos in Indiana (where Peyton played his first 14 NFL seasons), in Colorado (where Peyton played his final four years), in New Orleans (where the boys grew up) and in New Jersey (where Eli played his whole career).
Caesars is the country’s largest casino operator, following its $17.3 billion merger with Eldorado. Last year the company also agreed to purchase William Hill for roughly $3.7 billion, a deal that bolstered its online sports betting presence and its footprint in Nevada.
Caesars relaunched its sportsbook on Aug. 2, now offering sports gambling in 20 jurisdictions, 14 of which include mobile. It was also one of nine operators recommended Monday for a mobile gaming license in New York State. The company expects its nationwide sports betting business to be profitable by the 2023 football season.
“We’re laser-focused on scaling our digital business through aggressive customer acquisition during our first fall sports season,” Caesars COO Anthony Carano said in an earnings call last week.
Though Caesars also has a deal with ESPN, the popular Monday Night Football alternative broadcast anchored by Eli and Peyton will not be part of this agreement, Holdren said.
The deal also does not include Arch Manning, Cooper’s son, the next generation of Manning quarterbacks. Arch is the top rated football prospect in the high school class of 2023.