Hipster brand Vice has been seen as a challenger to sports net ESPN with sports content featuring on its linear Viceland channel and on its online offerings. ESPN is owned by Disney, itself an investor in Vice, and the pair have now teamed to provide original and library content for their respective services.
Vice’s Vice Sports will make an exclusive short-form series for ESPN and, in return, docs from ESPN’s 30 for 30 series will go out on the growing Viceland channel.
At its MIPTV presentation this year, Vice content chief Eddy Moretti said Vice’s attitude to sports coverage was: “Probably no sports scores. Other channels can take care of who won the soccer game the other night.” He also unveiled a new sports show called Vice World of Sports. That show will go out on ESPN as part of the new deal alongside other Vice shows including The Clubhouse.
Vice Sports and ESPN Films will also create new short form content for both of their channels. A short form animated series is also in development although details are thin on the ground.
Shane Smith, co-founder and CEO, Vice Media said: “To be teaming up with ESPN, creating brand new sports shows for them, and then showing 30 for 30′s on Viceland is perhaps one of the favourite moments in my professional life. I can now die a happy man. No, wait, we have to take over the world first! Here it comes baby, Vice World of Sports!”
John Skipper, president, ESPN, and co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks added: “I am confident that the content borne out of this collaboration will be a win for fans of ESPN, Vice and storytelling in general. And I applaud Shane for understanding that television is the smartest path to worldwide leadership.”