Vice Media and ESPN are teaming up to take on the world of sports programming, just a few months after Walt Disney, the parent of the sports-media juggernaut, made a second investment in the youth-media upstart.
Vice said it will produce new original sports series that will air exclusively on ESPN’s TV digital and mobile outlets. Meanwhile, select documentaries from ESPN’s “30 for 30,” will air on Viceland, the new cable network from Vice that is co-owned by A+E Networks, which is co-owned by Disney.
The two companies said original shows in development will examine “dominant athletes, fascinating characters and championship events that reside outside the mainstream.” The two will also develop a short-form animated series. Select Vice sports series, including original episodes of “The Clubhouse” will run on ESPN’s TV and digital outlets. And full episodes of “Vice World of Sports,” a series that runs on Viceland, will air on ESPN properties.
Walt Disney has invested $400 million in Vice Media, deploying $200 million in December and $200 million in the prior month. A host of mainstream media companies, including Disney and 21st Century Fox, have become stakeholders in the company, whose “you are there” video dispatches have proven alluring to younger consumers. As more young TV-watchers migrate to mobile devices and streaming video, finding the content that proves most alluring has become key for a range of corporations that once depended largely on movies and television.