Caesars Entertainment on Tuesday announced a wide-ranging partnership with the Manning family, the latest in an increasing number of relationships between retired athletes and sportsbook operators in the U.S.
Archie Manning and sons Peyton, Eli and Cooper will be featured in advertising for Caesars Sportsbook, make live appearances at fan-engagement events, promote responsible gambling and serve as strategic advisers to the company as part of the deal.
The partnership exemplifies the shift in acceptance of betting within professional sports and American society as a whole. For decades, sports betting was the ultimate taboo for the NFL, which feared any association with Las Vegas' legal bookmakers would damage the integrity of the game. That changed after a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 opened a path for all states to authorize sports betting. Legal sportsbooks are now operating in 31 states and the District of Columbia, and many of the bookmakers have brought on retired athletes as promoters. Drew Brees, for example, has partnered with sportsbook PointsBet, and Barry Sanders is a partner with BetMGM.
"There really has been a huge evolution in the way the betting industry has been received, and that change isn't limited just to the sports world -- you're seeing that across the country, and you're seeing so many new fans and participants," Peyton Manning said through a Caesars spokesperson. "When we both started playing, a partnership in this space wasn't something athletes or teams or leagues would have considered, but it's very different now."
"Caesars already has a connection with the NFL and ESPN, two companies that we know very well and have worked with so it's just a natural partnership," Eli Manning added. "The different ways that Caesars has taken our opinion, valued our opinion and our football knowledge is great. Being able to be a part of that and give our input is something we're really looking forward to doing. And obviously they have emphasized ways for people to be responsible in their gaming by staying in control, which is also so important."
In October, the NFL launched a major responsible gambling initiative, and Caesars and the Mannings said promoting responsible gambling is a key element in their partnership, as well.
"Betting on sports is not for everybody, and we will encourage those that participate to stay within their means at all times," Peyton Manning said through the Caesars spokesperson.
In addition, as part of the deal, Caesars has committed to support the Mannings' charitable initiatives.
"This isn't the typical partnership between a sports betting company and major talent," Chris Holdren, co-president of Caesars Digital, said in a release announcing the deal. "We're welcoming the most acclaimed family in football history to be integrated holistically into the Caesars family. Archie, Peyton, Eli, and Cooper are extraordinary people who are champions of their communities and we're honored to partner with such a prestigious group of individuals."