Omaha Productions Scores with Peyton’s Places Season 4, Signaling Bright Future for Manning’s Company

Omaha Productions Scores with Peyton’s Places Season 4, Signaling Bright Future for Manning’s Company

Will Peyton Manning ever get tired of flying around the country, talking about football history, and pulling pranks with other NFL legends? That’s the premise of ESPN+ and Omaha Productions’ hit series Peyton’s Places. It doesn’t seem like Peyton Manning has any desire to slow down on the trail he’s blazing to become America’s most-loved sports personality.

More importantly, viewers and critics can’t get enough of Peyton’s Places. The Emmy-nominated show is finishing its fourth season on the streaming service ESPN+. It continues to enjoy a healthy viewership and some of the highest critical acclaim of any sports entertainment program (with an average score of 8.6/10 on iMDB).

“This is a journey through 100 years of history, visiting the people and places that have made the NFL what it is,” Manning said of Peyton’s Places. “From throwing a football off a skyscraper to re-enacting the Immaculate Reception and running Elvis Presley’s football plays, every episode on ESPN+ will surprise even the most die-hard fan.”

Highlights from season four include a cross-country trip in the original Madden cruiser in honor of one of America’s most beloved sportscasters, John Madden. In another episode, he pays a posthumous tribute to former Chargers coach Don Coryell, the architect of the “Air Coryell” offense and a major contributor to the pass-first offensive strategy employed by most NFL teams today.

The season four finale of Peyton’s Places aired on December 24th on ESPN+.

But it’s unlikely to be the last of Peyton Manning’s cross-country adventures. Manning and Omaha Productions, a sports media company he founded with former ESPN and Fox Sports exec Jamie Horowitz, have struck a chord with viewers with their uplifting messages and personality-driven sports content. Valued at nearly half a billion dollars, Omaha Productions has only just begun to make waves in the world of sports entertainment.

How Peyton’s Places Paved the Way for Manning’s Media Empire, Omaha Productions

Peyton’s Places’ first season was created to commemorate the NFL’s 100th season. Spanning 30 episodes, Peyton traveled from coast to coast, exploring football history and culture with some of the game’s greatest players, including Dan Marino, Joe Namath, and his dad Archie Manning.

The show became a breakout hit, peaking at nearly 1.5 million viewers—an astounding number for a new sports docuseries on an equally new streaming service, ESPN+. Viewers loved Manning’s combination of heart, humor, and football expertise so much that even 30 episodes were not enough.

Sports media mogul Jamie Horowitz and WME Agent Josh Pyatt also took notice.

A former exec at ESPN and Fox Sports, Jamie Horowitz is credited for changing the face of modern sports media with his personality-driven shows like First Take, Undisputed, and SportsNation. Josh Pyatt had helped Kobe Bryant and LeBron James found their media companies. The two saw that Peyton Manning had the potential to be much more than a host. They set out to convince him to start his own production company.

Peyton Manning served as an executive producer on the first season of Peyton’s Places. But he wasn’t yet ready to commit to something bigger. But by late 2020, he had made up his mind, and alongside Jamie Horowitz, he founded Omaha Productions.

Jamie Horowitz’s Influence on Omaha Productions

Jamie Horowitz’s influence on Manning’s football-related programming was instantly noticeable.

Horowitz and Manning teamed up with NFL Films to create and produce the groundbreaking hit Netflix docuseries Quarterback. This fly-on-the-wall documentary follows three NFL quarterbacks, Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, Marcus Mariota of the Atlanta Falcons, and Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings, throughout the 2022 NFL season.

Jamie Horowitz and Peyton Manning knew that fans wanted to know more about their favorite athletes. Beyond just stats and numbers, fans wanted to get to know their idols on a personal level. Quarterback gave them an intimate look at the life of a quarterback, from the sidelines to the weight room to the living room. 

ManningCast with Peyton & Eli is another riff on the same idea. It gives fans the opportunity to watch Monday Night Football live with Peyton and Eli as if you are sitting on the couch next to them.

Unlike typical sportscasts, ManningCast is shot from Peyton’s garage and Eli’s basement in their respective homes. The unscripted and unfiltered show is chock full of inside jokes and sibling rivalry. Viewers don’t just feel like they’re part of the conversation—they feel like part of the family. 

ManningCast airs on ESPN2 and recently hit a ratings milestone when nearly 2 million viewers tuned into the Chiefs-Eagles game on November 20th.

Jamie Horowitz and Peyton Manning have also expanded the Places universe beyond Peyton’s flagship program. There are now a total of nine Places shows, each exploring a different sport and hosted by a star athlete. Some of the Places hosts include UFC star Ronda Rousey, tennis legend John McEnroe, and NBA All-Star Vince Carter.

Building a Billion-dollar Company

Given the breakaway success of Omaha Productions’ shows, specials, and podcasts, it’s hard to believe that the company is barely three years old. In a short period, Jamie Horowitz and Peyton Manning have formed lucrative partnerships with the NFL, ESPN, Netflix, The History Channel, and Prime Video.

The company doesn’t just produce entertainment. It has also developed lucrative ad campaigns for major brands like Bush’s Baked Beans, Kings Hawaiian, and Graduate Hotels.

Peyton Manning has been a talented pitchman for years, working as an ambassador for brands like DirecTV and Gatorade. Now, he’s using that experience to accelerate the success of Omaha Productions.

It’s safe to say that Omaha Productions is not wasting a single second on its drive to become a major player in the sports media industry. Peyton Manning’s name and Jamie Horowitz’s experience are paying off big.

Omaha Productions is currently valued at around $400 million, but analysts have little doubt that it will achieve a billion-dollar valuation in the near future.

As Joe Pompliano, author of the sports business newsletter Huddle Up, puts it, “I don’t see any reason why Omaha can’t be a $1 billion-plus company. Streaming services are acquiring unscripted sports content at a premium, and Omaha’s close relationship with ESPN provides them with a unique advantage.”

What The Future Holds for Manning and Omaha Productions

Omaha Productions is evolving rapidly from an insurgent production company to a sports media mainstay. Given Peyton Manning’s drive and focus, it’s becoming clear that his sights are set high.

Manning has taken a much more active role in the company than most expected (Horowitz and Pyatt offered him the opportunity to be as involved as he wanted). Not only does the former QB appear in most of Omaha’s ads and programs, but he also helps make them possible.

He met with all of the quarterbacks featured in Netflix’s Quarterback to discuss the vision for the show, and he helped convince their coaches that the cameras wouldn’t affect their performance on the field.

One of Omaha Productions’ investors, Peter Chernin, had this to say of Manning: “I would never underestimate the level of his ambition. He’s super impressive, incredibly smart, and incredibly focused. He is one of the most focused people I’ve ever been around.”

Shows like ManningCast, Peyton’s Places, and Quarterback have proven to networks and streamers that Omaha Productions is much more than the side project of a former NFL player.

The company’s early successes led to an expanded relationship with ESPN and numerous other deals with major media companies.

Josh Pyatt recalls just how much ManningCast turned heads: “ManningCast changed the trajectory of the business, both in what it did to the zeitgeist and what it did for Peyton internally at the Walt Disney Co.”

Omaha Productions isn’t just propped up by its superstar founder. It’s proven that it is built on industry expertise in the form of producers like Jamie Horowitz, as well as programming that connects with younger sports fans

Peyton Manning changed the game once in his life with his Omaha audible on the gridiron. Now, he’s doing it again with Omaha Productions. Based on Omaha’s performance so far, Manning’s new career may prove more successful and lucrative than his former one.

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