Vice Media and ESPN strike distribution deal

The pair will create an unspecified number of originals, as well as repackage and share existing content for digital platforms.
May 4, 2016

ESPN is about to get a content boost from the one of the millennial generation’s favorite media co’s: Vice Media.

Vice Sports will now produce original content that will be distributed across ESPN’s linear, digital and mobile properties as well as Vice’s properties. In exchange, select films from ESPN’s back catalog of its 30 for 30 documentary series will air on Vice’s linear channel, Viceland (which airs in the U.S. and Canada and is soon to expand to various countries across Europe).

Together, Vice Sports and ESPN Films will create a number of original, short-form series to run across both companies’ properties. John Skipper, president of ESPN said in a statement that Vice’s unique and non-mainstream approach to storytelling is what lead the two companies’ partnership.

“Shane (Smith) and the team at Vice do an extraordinary job presenting stories through their own, unique lens — and working with them will help to bring a new perspective to our storytelling,” he said.

While the number of shows has not yet been specified, a joint press release by Vice and ESPN promises that they will take a close look at various athletes and championships that reside “outside the mainstream,” and will take an international approach to content. Additionally, the two companies are developing a short-form animated series.

ESPN will also repackage content from Viceland’s weekly show Vice World of Sports (which premiered on the channel April 27) for distribution across its digital channels after each episode premieres on Viceland, and will air select series from Vice Sports including The Clubhouse on its linear and digital channels.

“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 Smith, pictured, in a statement.

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