Approximately nine months after ESPN announced that it was putting together a production team to create 30 for 30 podcasts, the network is just about ready to roll those shows out. Over the weekend at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, ESPN Audio and ESPN Films announced that 30 for 30 Podcasts will debut in June. A website has also been launched where listeners can sign up for updates.
Two of the stories that will be part of 30 for 30 Podcasts‘ first season will be “Dan and Dave Revisited,” covering the disastrous 1992 Reebok ad campaign following decathletes Dan O’Brien and Dave Johnson as they prepared for the Olympics, and “On the Ice,” which tells the story of 20 British women who attempted to become the first all-female relay expedition team to trek to the North Pole. Each project currently has a working title.
The podcasts will feature both original interviews and archival footage, as a 30 for 30 documentary would, assembled a team of producers, reporters and ESPN talent. These audio productions will feature a new theme song that reworks the version used for the film series. The show will be hosted and produced by Jody Avirgan, who fills the same roles for ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight podcasts.
“ESPN Films is continuing to push boundaries in the storytelling space, and we’re excited to further evolve the 30 for 30 brand,” said Libby Geist, ESPN Films and Original Content vice president and executive producer. “These audio documentaries will break new ground for ESPN while also bringing our signature long-form archival-based approach to the podcasting arena.”
The 30 for 30 brand is as prominent as it’s ever been, following ESPN Films earning an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature with O.J.: Made in America. Each new documentary release on ESPN is an anticipated event, with films typically scheduled with significant sports broadcasts (such as the Heisman Trophy presentation) and important TV sweeps periods.
30 For 30 Podcasts arrive at an ideal time on the podcasting landscape. Longform storytelling and documentary-type series are extremely popular audio programming now, adding to a popular and growing medium that was previously known largely for interviews, group discussions and re-broadcasts of radio programming. This promises to be an exciting entry to sports podcasting often filled with debates, commentary and conversations.