KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Besides breaking records, Peyton Manning is also somewhat a television star. Some of his commercials helped him to be the face of the NFL.
Insiders estimate Manning earns around $12 million a year just from TV spots. He’s a pitchman for an array of products, including DirecTV, Papa John’s, Gatorade and Buick. He got his start as a pitchman in Knoxville because of a knee injury that was treated at a local hospital.
Manning in 1997 credited doctors at Tennova with getting his knee back in shape to play in the Orange Bowl. He’s been their pitchman ever since.
“With St. Mary’s when they first signed that agreement to have Peyton act as a spokesperson, he agreed if they would make a donation to his foundation every year, they wouldn’t have to pay him at all. So instead of payment, they were making an annual donation to Peyton’s foundation,” said marketing guru Rick Laney.
Manning’s personality transcends football. He’s also become a figure in popular culture as one of the most popular, trustworthy and well-known celebrities in the country, even outside sports.
“He has a real clean image and people like that. If you are an advertiser and you are looking to align your brand, that you have invested a lot of money, you want to align with a spokesperson who matches your brand. They are looking for someone, essentially gambling against that person going out and messing up. They really like the image Peyton projects. Beyond the image, he was a fantastic athlete, so you want someone who does well and is a standout in their sport,” said Laney.
A Tennova spokesperson said the hospital has enjoyed its strong relationship with Manning over the years as their spokesman.
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Peyton Manning challenged a University of Tennessee professor in a different game in a promotional video for the University of Tennessee.
The former University of Tennessee quarterback challenged George Pharr, Director of the University of Tennessee/Oak Ridge National Laboratory Institute for Advanced Materials to a game of chess. The shoot took place on the iconic Ayres Hall on the University of Tennessee’s campus.