160208_EM_ManningFreeAd
Streeter Lecka—Getty Images

Why Peyton Manning Gave Budweiser $3 Million in Free Advertising

Feb 08, 2016

Anheuser-Busch InBev plunked down about $15 million for Super Bowl advertisements this year to promote its Budweiser and Bud Light brands. But one of the company's most memorable plugs during Sunday's game—from Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning—came for free.

In a post-game interview with CBS's Tracy Wolfson, Manning said he planned to "drink a lot of Budweiser" to celebrate his Super Bowl victory. A few minutes later on the winner's podium, the five-time National Football League MVP again brought up the popular brew, saying, "What’s weighing on my mind is how soon I can get a Bud Light in my mouth."

His comments generated more than $3.2 million in media exposure for Anheuser-Busch InBev, Bloomberg reported. That number is expected to grow as marketing analysts factor in the impact of overnight television coverage and social media.

Though Manning wasn't paid for his Budweiser promotions, his actions might not have been totally without calculation: He's part-owner of two Anheuser-Busch distributors in his home state of Louisiana, Yahoo News reported.

Manning is the highest-paid product spokesman in the NFL, bringing in $12 million each year from endorsements of companies like Nationwide Insurance and Papa John's Pizza.

Read next: Budweiser Doubles Down by Mocking Craft Beer Again in Super Bowl Ad

The long-time NFL quarterback also promoted Papa John's during the post-game festivities by publicly embracing company founder John Schnatter. Manning owns 32 franchises of the pizza chain in Colorado.

Active NFL players are not allowed to endorse alcoholic beverages, per league rules. But if the Super Bowl was indeed Manning's last game of professional football, many are speculating that he may have just taken the first step to securing himself a regular gig as a Budweiser spokesperson.

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. MONEY may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.

Quotes delayed at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Interactive Data. ETF and Mutual Fund data provided by Morningstar, Inc. Dow Jones Terms & Conditions: http://www.djindexes.com/mdsidx/html/tandc/indexestandcs.html. S&P Index data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Terms & Conditions. Powered and implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions