“When you can be a part of something and have your family see it and be a part of it, that makes it really special to get involved in,” the Super Bowl-winning QB tells Boardroom.
On Wednesday, NWSL soccer club NJ/NY Gotham FC revealed former New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning as the newest member of its ownership group.
As Manning told Boardroom on the occasion, his investment in Gotham FC is rooted in family. The two-time Super Bowl champion three daughters that are all playing youth sports, making this decision every bit as personal for him as it is professional.
“I want them to know that it’s cool to play sports, and here are people that are doing it — and they played when they were little, and they went off to college, they’re playing professionally and now they are role models,” he said. “They all have different stories of where they come from and how they got here. We’re raising all our kids the same way I was raised and sports are so important to my family. Just the life lessons that it teaches about teamwork and humility and dedication.”
It was first reported on July 28 that both Manning and future Basketball Hall of Famer Sue Bird would join NJ/NY Gotham FC as co-owners, bringing the club’s estimated valuation to $40 million. Boardroom parent company 35V announced an investment in the club in May.
“I’ve lived in New Jersey for almost 20 years now. I’ve played my whole career raising my family here and I think it’s just really special to be a part of the community, he said. “And so when the opportunity came to be a part of Gotham FC and a women’s soccer league was really special to me. It’s something about supporting your community, and being around something that is growing. I have three daughters, so having them be around these girls that are playing sports [and] that can be role models for my kids, that opportunity was special to me.”
And while the players are the lifeblood of the NSWL, Manning sees great opportunities to continue to enhance the diversity of the ownership groups of sporting organizations like Gotham FC.
“Everybody should have the opportunity to be in ownership, and I hope that it can get more diverse [because] I think that is very important for the future,” he said.
Since retiring from the NFL in 2020, Manning has jumped into media alongside his brother, Peyton, on ESPN’s alternate Monday Night Football broadcast popularly known among fans as the “ManningCast.” Guests so far have included LeBron James, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Charles Barkley, and Michael Strahan.
“It was never quite the plan to get into media or broadcasting. I still don’t really consider myself a broadcaster,” Eli said of the gig. “I think the opportunity where I could sit on my couch [and] watch football games with my brother and make fun of him, that was an idea that people might want to watch.”
The success of the pairing has nudged other media companies to search for similarly dynamic duos to replicate the connection that Peyton and Eli effortlessly display on MNF. Ultimately, Eli believes that this brotherly love is what fans most enjoy about the broadcasts.
“We can take shots at each other and we’re not going to get sensitive, we’re not going to get our feelings hurt, I enjoy it and it keeps me involved in the game of football,” he said.
Now, with Gotham FC, the New York sports legend gets to stay involved with a different type of football. And he’s quick to note his excitement about what’s possible.
“Women’s soccer is growing, and you see that with it being on TV more and [with] attendance, so I think to just be a part of it and to be at games, it’s fun for the whole family,” he said.