The VICE empire continues to grow. Today, the world’s preeminent youth media company announced a partnership with the worldwide leader in sports, ESPN. Under the deal, VICE will produce a new original series that will explore “dominant athletes, fascinating characters and championship events,” to air exclusively on ESPN properties (TV, digital, and mobile), while select episodes of ESPN’s critically acclaimed “30 for 30” series will re-air on the new VICELAND cable network.
“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 Shane Smith, Co-Founder/ CEO of VICE. “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. No, wait, we have to take over the world first! Here it comes baby, VICE WORLD OF SPORTS!!”
This is a very significant move for two major media brands and should produce benefits for both teams. VICE will extend its alternative and niche journalism perspective into the world of sports, which is a steadily growing focus in its portfolio. The company has its VICE Sports YouTube channel, which actually has some good content revolving around athletes, so the partnership could open more doors to players, teams, and leagues. Additionally, ESPN is one of the most popular TV networks reaching 86 million cable and satellite homes as well as millions of digital and mobile users, so imagine the amount of new exposure for VICE. On the other side of the playing field, ESPN will have a channel to directly reach the coveted Millennial and Gen Z demographic. ESPN’s content skews a bit older, so injecting it with some VICE influence could make it appealing to the next generation of sports fans.