Super Bowl

Most Valuable Endorser of Super Bowl XLVI: Eli Manning

Sports Experts Say Giants Quarterback Catching up to Brother Peyton in Ad Deals

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New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning not only passed his more celebrated brother in Super Bowl titles with a victory Sunday night over the New England Patriots, but he's also poised to catch up to Peyton Manning on the sports-marketing food chain.

Eli Manning led the Giants on yet another last-minute, fourth-quarter drive en route to a 21-17 win over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. Playing on his brother's turf at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, he earned Most Valuable Player honors and capped his second world title in four years. Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has one Super Bowl victory in two tries.

Now that Eli has separated himself from Peyton in Super Bowl rings, experts say he'll do the same when it comes to endorsements.

Eli Manning
Eli Manning Credit: Bob Leverone

"(Eli) goes to the next level as an endorser," said Kevin Adler, founder and president of Chicago-based Engage Marketing.

Eli Manning makes about $7 million annually in endorsements, about half of what Peyton Manning makes. Moreover, Eli Manning's notable national deals with Oreo and DirecTV, as well as his humorous ESPN SportsCenter commercials, have been done in tandem with his brother.

Expect that to change.

"Eli Manning could add as much as $3 million in yearly endorsement earnings," said Bob Dorfman, exec VP-executive creative director at Baker Street Advertising in San Francisco. Mr. Dorfman produces an annual "Sports Marketers' Scouting Report" in which he grades potential breakout endorsement stars. He gave Mr. Manning and New England quarterback Tom Brady "touchdown" potential.

"Eli could easily stand alone, and appeal to a younger demographic, in ads for fast food, video games or manning a smartphone," Mr. Dorfman said. "With Peyton's playing future up in the air, the smart Manning marketing money is on Eli."

Peyton Manning missed the entire past season with a neck injury. He was medically cleared last week by two doctors to resume his career in the fall for the 2012 NFL season, but there are growing indications it won't be with the Indianapolis Colts, the only team he has played for in his 14-year career. The Colts may be looking to rebuild with Stanford University quarterback Andrew Luck, whom Indianapolis could select with the No. 1 pick in the draft in April.

That Eli Manning plays in New York is certainly a bonus for his marketing career, but he has yet to demonstrate Peyton's charisma.

"Peyton's presence relative to Eli's, without regard to performance on the field, is still noticeable," said David Carter, head of the Los Angeles-based Sports Business Group and executive director of the Sports Business Institute at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business. "He still outshines Eli. There's omething about Peyton that exudes an ability to connect with people; Eli is not quite the captivating presence his older brother is ."

Still, a second Super Bowl title and second MVP might catapult Eli Manning further into the marketing realm. Said Bill Glenn, senior VP for Dallas-based The Marketing Arm: "I have the same feeling about that as I do about his fourth-quarter drives -- I definitely like his chances."

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