Time Inc.’s Video Division announced today that it is launching Sports Illustrated Films, an original programming initiative to create SI-branded video programming for digital, TV and OTT distribution.
Six Sports Illustrated Films will be released in 2015. Two will debut today on a new digital channel, SI.com/films: “Brett Favre: Life After the Game,” profiling NFL Legend Brett Favre, and “The Rise and Fall of the Danbury Trashers,” the story of a minor league hockey team owned by Connecticut Waste Management king Jimmy Galante, adapted from Jon Wertheim’s story in Sports Illustrated.
Time Inc. will draw on of filmmakers, producers and journalists inside and outside of the company to produce videos under the Sports Illustrated banner, including Mandalay Sports Media and Velocity.
Mandalay Sports Media’s Mike Tollin and Jon Weinbach will produce “Patrick and ‘Zo,’” an intimate portrait of the unique kinship and rivalry between NBA legengs Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning. The deal with Velocity calls for it to create the new video franchise “100 Greatest Moments in Sports.” Both are set to premiere later this year.
“We see amazing potential for Sports Illustrated-branded programming both domestically and internationally, and we are going to pursue those opportunities very aggressively,” said J.R. McCabe, SVP of Time Inc. Video, in a statement. “Today’s announcements reflect the vision we have for many of our brands,” which include People, InStyle, Real Simple, Entertainment Weekly, Travel + Leisure, Cooking Light, Fortune and Food & Wine.
Earlier this week, Time Inc. Video announced it was promoting Mike Beck and Ian Orefice to senior executive producers, overseeing original programming, branded entertainment, development and production across all platforms and channels for the media giant’s portfolio.
The Sports Illustrated Films launch is the latest in a recent string of moves in the digital space from the Sports Illustrated Group that include the acquisition of the FanSided blog network of 300 sites, the launch Campus Rush, devoted to college football culture, and Time Inc.’s purchase of three companies (SportsSignup, League Athletics and iScore Sports) that form the nucleus of SI Play, a new division devoted to youth sports.