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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Eli Manning is the latest retired NFL great to join the world of private equity, this morning announcing that he's joined Brand Velocity Partners. Not as a part-time adviser or conference glad-hander, but as an actual partner.

Why it matters: BVP, founded in 2019 to buy consumer brand companies, has interest in expanding into sports investing, including the growing business of buying up pro teams. Manning lends the firm extra credibility and contacts in that space and says it will be his primary job.

  • "People don't realize that I do the 'Monday Night Football' gig from my house," Manning explains. "So unless BVP is planning meetings between 8:15 to 11:30 on Monday nights, I'm pretty much wide open."

Behind the scenes: Manning first got to know BVP when his family (including brother Peyton and father Archie) invested in a Louisiana grill maker called BBQGuys, which BVP bought in late 2020.

  • He previously had been introduced to several venture capitalists, but was interested in learning what he calls "private equity 101," and began sitting in on BVP meetings.
  • Manning adds that he was especially taken with a BVP program whereby the firm's partners allocate 10% of their carried interest to portfolio company employees.

SPAC stuff: BVP had planned to quickly flip BBQGuys to an unaffiliated SPAC called Velocity Acquisition Corp. for nearly $1 billion, but the deal soured over supply chain issues and was terminated in November.

  • BVP, which operates as a fundless sponsor, also filed for its own SPAC last March, on which Manning was listed as an adviser, but firm co-founder Drew Sheinman (who has his own sports industry background) says the effort is currently on hold.

Big picture: A few other retired quarterbacks are in private equity, including ESPN colleague Steve Young (who co-founded HGGC) and fellow ex-Giant Dave Brown (Moelis & Co.).

  • Also worth noting that the Patriots are going to the playoffs and the Giants are going off a cliff, as Manning acknowledged in our call.

The bottom line: The road to private equity almost always used to go through banks or consulting firms. It now has a much wider range of starting points.

Go deeper

Jan 13, 2022 - Sports

Judge clears path for potential Denver Broncos sale

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

A judge's ruling has removed a major roadblock to the sale of the Denver Broncos, which now appears imminent.

Driving the news: In 1984, Pat Bowlen bought the Broncos from Edgar Kaiser Jr., who secured a right of first refusal on a potential future sale. On Tuesday, a Denver judge ruled that agreement was no longer valid.

Updated 8 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a potentially historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Swastikas found outside Union Station in D.C.

People walk through Union Station on Jan. 16 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Drawings of swastikas appeared etched around the entrance to Union Station in Washington, D.C., on Friday morning.

Driving the news: "An investigation is underway with Amtrak Police and the Metropolitan Police Department after swastikas were reported on the exterior of Washington Union Station on Friday," Amtrak spokesperson Kimberly Woods said in a statement to Axios.