For those who follow American Handegg, Peyton and Eli Manning’s Monday Night Football’s “ManningCast,” last year was a huge hit and offered fans a different way to see the NFL. ESPN simultaneously aired a traditional show with announcers talking about the game, but for those tired of the usual commentators or less invested in the action, ManningCast on ESPN2 offered an excellent alternative that focused more on entertainment than just football .
This week the ManningCast heads to golf for the PGA Championship. If only we could apply this idea to football, with or without the Manning brothers.
Tee it up: The “ManningCast” popular on Monday Night Football is coming to Major Championship Golf. ESPN is partnering with Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions for alternate broadcasting during the PGA Championship.
— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) May 11, 2022
As one of four majors, the PGA Championship is a pretty big deal. ESPN is making every effort to improve its reporting, including multiple viewing options. One of those options will be a ManningCast-style show produced by Peyton Manning’s production company, Omaha Productions, which signed a deal with ESPN earlier this year to create content for soccer (pro and collegiate), golf and UFC.
i love this idea
Anyone who watches sports on TV knows that announcers can get old-fashioned and boring over time. While some play-by-play announcers enhance the viewing experience and some analysts know how to explain the game to viewers, broadcasters mostly say the same thing and rarely offer interesting insights.
The result is that fans get bored of the show before either changing channels or concentrating on their phone.
A ManningCast is the perfect solution as casual fans are often more concerned with non-traditional coverage. For the same reason, millions of people watch Twitch streamers play video games.
ESPN captured a similar sentiment with the NCAA women’s basketball finals, when Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi provided amazing coverage. (Megan Rapinoe even joined the show.)
Now we just need a US broadcaster to bring the idea to football.
Why we need a football ManningCast
Admittedly, sometimes you want to hear the announcers while watching the beautiful game. Some of the sport’s most memorable moments have included brilliant radio calls like, “Oh, can you believe that? Go, go USA!” or “Corner taken quickly”.
But too often you don’t care much about the announcers or you’re not invested enough in the game to care what they have to say. In these cases, watching a show with unconventional commentary is the best way to keep viewers engaged.
This isn’t necessarily a new idea. When it comes to big soccer games, it doesn’t take you long to find a simulcast where YouTubers are streaming themselves while watching a game despite being unable to show the game in progress due to broadcast rights issues. CBS even did this with the Champions League.
I want it on TV with the game that’s shown with it. A full ManningCast for soccer.
One way to do that is to actually have the Manning brothers on a football broadcast. Sure, they wouldn’t have a clue what they’re talking about, but it would be a great way for sports fans who don’t follow soccer to learn the beautiful game.
Another option would be to have ex-soccer players with strong chemistry make their own version of a ManningCast. We’ve seen some great camaraderie from analysts on CBS – Clint Dempsey, Oguchi Onyewu, Charlie Davies on the US side, Micah Richards and Jamie Carragher on the Champions League side – so we know it would be entertaining to follow them throughout to listen to the game.
Other options would be a mix of former players and non-players, like Abby Wambach and her wife Glennon Doyle, who have done their best to learn football. Or bring Megan Rapinoe back and let her hang out with partner Sue Bird and maybe add Christine Sinclair, Rapinoe’s former college teammate. Maybe bring Steve Nash back into football coverage (actually please don’t).
However a broadcaster decides to beef up the broadcasters a bit, as was the case with the Women’s Final Four, I think it’s a great idea.
With the World Cup coming up this November (and the 2023 Women’s World Cup), Fox should seriously consider airing a ManningCast-style show. Casual gamers and non-soccer fans would be much more likely to tune into entertaining entertainment coverage than the list of drab announcers they would hire to announce the games.
As for this week’s PGA Championship, I don’t think ESPN will field this latest ManningCast to succeed. For starters, they’re using Joe Buck — who ESPN stole from Fox for an alleged $75 million — to helm the reporting, which doesn’t really jibe with anything we’ve already discussed. While the guests will be interesting and diverse – from Charles Barkley to Fred Couples, the Manning brothers to actor Jon Hamm – it remains to be seen if Buck can find the same chemistry with co-host Michael Collins as Peyton and Eli or Bird and Taurasi showed. In fact, the very idea of having a trained broadcaster as the presenter goes against the ethos of a ManningCast.
As someone not overly interested in golf, I’m much more likely to tune in to the PGA Championship’s ManningCast than any traditional coverage. I might just turn on Golf this weekend to check it out. Probably not, but there is a chance.
If you’re interested in ManningCast, it will air for four hours each day during all four rounds – Thursday and Friday from 1pm to 2pm ET on ESPN+ and 2pm to 5pm ET on ESPN2, followed by 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. ET on ESPN and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET. If that schedule isn’t weird enough for you, how about the fact that ESPN shares broadcasting rights with CBS, which has the last six hours of coverage on Saturday and Sunday. Imagine watching the first half of a football game on ESPN before switching to FS1 for the second half. Then again, this is golf that takes all day to complete a round, so they might have to switch channels to make sure viewers are still awake.