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Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning calls the play against the Oakland Raiders in the first quarter of their NFL football game in Denver September 23, 2013. REUTERS/Rick Wilking Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning calls the play against the Oakland Raiders in the first quarter of their NFL football game in Denver September 23, 2013. REUTERS/Rick Wilking  

Peyton Manning’s ‘Omaha!’ raises $25k towards charity

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning’s frequent use of the word “Omaha” to call plays at the line of scrimmage has benefited Omaha, Neb. and Manning’s own charity for disadvantaged kids.

During the Broncos’ win against the San Diego Chargers Jan. 12, Manning shouted the word 44 times in 71 plays, spawning dozens of news reports about what it meant. During Sunday’s drubbing of the New England Patriots, Manning shouted “Omaha!” 31 times, according to ESPN.

Although only Manning and the Broncos’ offensive line know the meaning of the word from play to play, it’s pure gold to Omaha businesses and Manning’s own Peyback Foundation.

Prior to Sunday’s game, a group of eight Omaha businesses pledged to donate a combined $800 to Manning’s foundation every time he said it in Sunday’s AFC Championship game, in which the Broncos beat the Patriots 26-16.

The result was $24,800 in donations to the charity, which supports programs for disadvantaged kids, according to ESPN. In 2012, the foundation raised $1.6 million and donated money to organizations in Indiana, Tennessee and Louisiana, according to the sports network.

But Omaha itself is also reaping the reward for the meme-like popularity of the phrase.

“This has been terrific for us,” David G. Brown, president and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, told the network. “Before Friday, we had calculated that news coverage of Omaha had generated the equivalent of about $10 million in advertising.”

Front Row Analytics, a sponsorship evaluation firm, put the value at $150,000 in advertising equivalency per utterance. Others put the value higher, at around a half million per mention.

“This is really great for Omaha as a community and for the businesses that are embedded here,” Todd Simon, a senior vice president of Omaha Steaks, one of the businesses participating in the donations, told ESPN. “Who knows whether any of this will translate to the bottom line, if ever, but it can’t hurt.”

Other Omaha businesses that participated were Mutual of Omaha, FNB Omaha, CenturyLink, ConAgra Foods, Union Pacific, DJ’s Dugout and Cox Communications.

Brown, the chamber president, said the contribution program will continue with the Super Bowl, in which Manning’s Broncos will face the Seattle Seahawks on Feb. 2. Given the larger audience, that could equate to a much higher ad value per mention. Estimates range from $400,000 to $1.3 million per “Omaha.”

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