Vice Media and ESPN have entered into a distribution and production agreement where the millennial-focused content producer will create new original series to air exclusively on ESPN properties – including TV, digital and mobile – through its Vice Sports unit, while select films from ESPN’s documentary series 30 for 30 will air on the Viceland pay TV channel.
"Growing up watching ESPN I came to love the brand and their content. Maybe a little too much. The amount of manly tears shed over various 30 for 30’s throughout the years has been nothing short of embarrassing,” said Vice Media co-founder and CEO Shane Smith said in a statement. “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 favorite moments in my professional life. I can now die a happy man. "
As part of the deal Vice Sports and ESPN Films will create a new short-form series to run across both ESPN and Vice properties, focusing on athletes, characters and championship events that reside outside the mainstream. In addition, Vice and ESPN are developing a short-form animated series.
On the existing programming side, select Vice Sports series like The Clubhouse, will run across ESPN’s linear and digital channels, including WatchESPN. ESPN will feature digital cutdowns of the Viceland show VICE World of Sports, after programming premieres on Viceland. Full episodes of VICE World of Sports will air on ESPN properties.
“Evoking manly tears from Shane Smith is no small task, and I take immense pride in that,” ESPN president and Disney Media Networks Co-Chairman John Skipper said in a statement. “Shane and the team at Vice do an extraordinary job presenting stories through their own, very unique lens – and working with them will help to bring a new perspective to our storytelling. 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.”