Sports Illustrated Launches Digital Video Channel

Screengrab/Sports Illustrated

Sports Illustrated Films has struck deals with Mandalay Sports Media and Velocity to produce original content under the new banner.

Time Inc. is expanding its slate of digital video programming with the launch of Sports Illustrated Films, a new channel for long-form sports content.

The effort, which premieres today with a pair of projects, will feature original programming made for digital, television and over-the-top distribution. All Sports Illustrated video will now live on a new home on the publication's website and will include original productions archives of more than 40 past productions and three seasons of the series Underdogs.

"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, senior vp of Time Inc. Video.

SI Films plans to release six long-form documentary projects this year, starting with Brett Favre: Life After the Game, an in-depth profile of the former Green Bay Packers quarterback, and The Rise and Fall of the Danbury Trashers, the story of a minor-league hockey team, adapted from Jon Wertheim's 2014 Sports Illustrated story. SI Films is being executive produced by Wertheim, Ian Orefice and Collin Orcutt.

"With changing consumption habits, especially among millennials, and the plethora of popular distribution outlets at hand, there are limitless opportunities to offer an independent voice and quality video programming," said Sports Illustrated Group Editor Paul Fichtenbaum. "Today's premieres reflect that potential. We had special access to one of the greatest to ever play football, and the Danbury Trashers story comes straight from the SI pages from one of our finest writers."

SI Films has also struck deals with Mandalay Sports Media and Velocity to produce additional new programming under the new banner. The Mandalay Sports Media deal will see Mike Tollin (Coach Carter) and Jon Weinbach produce Patrick and Zo, the story of the rivalry between basketball players Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning. The Velocity deal will include the creation of new video franchise, 100 Greatest Moments in Sports. Both projects will premiere later this year.