Former NFL quarterback Eli Manning is joining a private equity firm as a partner as he enters new endeavors after retiring from football.
Brand Velocity Partners, which specializes in consumer products, is bringing Manning on to work on business development and deals. As part of the arrangement, he’ll advise on leadership and company culture with brands the firm backs.
“I went through a Private Equity 101,” Manning, who has been sitting in on business meetings for the past year, said in an interview. “As I get more familiar, I’ll be able to have more intel and be more helpful with some of the deals that we’re deciding on.”
Manning, who won two Super Bowls over 16 seasons with the New York Giants, has been a busy businessman since he stepped away from football at the end of the 2019 season. He took much of his first year off, taking time to figure out what he wanted his post-football life to look like before taking any leaps.
Since then, he’s been an active dealmaker. Eli and his brother Peyton Manning signed a three-year pact with Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN network to host alternative telecasts of “Monday Night Football” and started a bourbon label called Sweetens Cove, and the family entered a wide-ranging partnership with Caesars Entertainment Inc.’s Caesars Sportsbook. Eli also invested in startups such as nutrition label Zoe and wearable-device maker Whoop. In June, he rejoined the Giants in a front-office role advising on business operations and fan engagement.
Manning, 41, first linked up with BVP in 2020 when the firm invested in BBQGuys, with the Manning family joining the transaction as investors. He started sitting in on business-development meetings and looked to get more involved in the private equity world. He didn’t do much of that as a player, thinking he’d be doing a disservice to his team if he spent too much time during the season on business deals. Instead, he went with lots of endorsements, getting paid to plug brands like Gatorade, Toyota, Visa, Samsung and DirecTV.
“I knew when I got done, I’d want to learn a little bit more about what was going on, even in some of my own investments,” said Manning, who ended his football career as the top earner in NFL history at the time.
BVP, which was founded in 2019, has acquired home brands such as BBQGuys, Blaze Outdoor Products and Magma stainless-steel grills. It also bought Original Footwear Co., which specializes in shoes and boots for the military and law enforcement.
Drew Sheinman, a founding partner of BVP, said he hopes to spur more celebrity involvement in private equity, rather than venture capital, where high-profile names from basketball star Kevin Durant to rapper Nas have made a lasting impact.
“We’re out there looking for new acquisitions,” said Sheinman, a former executive at talent agency WME-IMG. “There’s no better ambassador for that.”