So, fantastic news. ESPN will announce at today's upfront that they will roll out a second series of sports documentaries under the 30 For 30 umbrella, even though it's no longer the network's 30th anniversary and there may not be 30 of them. The first one will premier this fall, and new films will roll out over the next two years. The first go-round varied in quality, but produced a number of honest-to-god classic sports documentaries, often from relatively unknown filmmakers. We're thrilled that ESPN is using its money and airtime for a worthy cause. More sports films can only be a good thing.
Bill Simmons will once again executive produce, although that title stems from his pushing ESPN to sponsor the project rather than from any personal involvement with the films. This time around, the network will find a way to involve "the first mainstream website to successfully bridge sports and pop culture." Italics, bolding, underlining and blink tags mine:
As the films roll out, they will be augmented on Grantland by podcasts, feature stories and . A short digital film - which will be unrelated to the longer ones - will make its debut each month on Grantland.
Once again, bully for ESPN. There aren't nearly enough sports docs being made, and if ESPN doesn't have a robust docs department of their own, they're lending their cash, their cachet and their platforms to some talented folks to make it happen. And if they're not doing it altruistically, well, so what? That well-made documentary films can be profitable is good news for us all.