ESPN’s influential 30 for 30 series opened up new avenues for the way sports story-telling could be accomplished. While the action on the field of play had long been the main focus of broadcasts, the evolving, and many times deeper narratives surrounding the competition, proved to be even more engaging than who won or lost. That realization likely led to the newly announced partnership between Vice Media and the Worldwide Leader in Sports.
With Disney being a major Vice investor, the collaboration isn’t much of a surprise, but rather an acknowledgment that there may be crossover appeal to consumers given each company’s foray into the other’s territory — Vice with its unique coverage of sports and ESPN’s narrative based 30 for 30 series. Not to mention, the newly launched Viceland channel will undoubtedly appreciate the content boost it will receive from being able to re-broadcast select 30 for 30s.
By partnering with Vice, ESPN also gains access to an audience that has grown up during the cord-cutting era. Vice Media established its foundation through the internet via YouTube channels, social media, and various other non-traditional outlets before expanding its reach to the likes of HBO and traditional cable television. As ESPN attempts to adjust to this new digital landscape, the ability to lean on a company that has successfully leveraged new platforms and content to develop a growing media company, will be extremely beneficial.
With the addition of Vice World of Sports to all of ESPN’s properties, including digital, Vice receives a wider audience for its programming as well. Additional Vice programming, such as its series The Clubhouse, and new programming being developed in collaboration with ESPN will also provide a boost to the channel that just recently launched at the end of February.
Ultimately, the partnership between one of cable’s longstanding media giants and the upstart media company built for today’s generation of consumers should help each company strengthen areas of perceived weakness.