By the Staff of NYSportsJournalism.com
December 17, 2014: You have to set some pretty lofty goals, and plan not to have an epic failure, if you create, produced and air material under the banner Epix.
Epix this year has exceeded the former and come nowhere near the latter.
Founded in 2009 under the auspices of Studio 3 — a joint venture among Viacom Inc., its Paramount Pictures unit, Lionsgate and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios — Epix describes itself as a multi-platform premium entertainment channel, VOD and online service. It has access to more than 30 million homes and includes a library of more than 15,000 films from the partner studios and subsidiaries.
Over the past year, Epix, led by president and CEO Mark Greenberg, has ramped up its original presentations and documentaries and now boasts an all-star line-up of sports-related productions.
Among them: Dwight Howard In The Moment, David Ortiz In The Moment, To Russia With Love (which explores human rights through the eyes of LGBT athletes, with commentary from Olympic medalist and U.S. and world champion figure skater Johnny Weir), The Current (which follows people with disabilities, including athletes Bethany Hamilton, Alex Zanardi and Anthony Robles, who found "new ways to experience freedom of movement through water sports"), Forgotten Four: The Integration of Pro Football (which tells the story of African American athletes Kenny Washington, Woody Strode, Marion Motley and Bill Willis, who broke the color barrier in pro football in 1946) and Personal with Bill Rhoden, in which the renowned journalist conducts in-depth interviews with the likes of Oscar De La Hoya and Grant & Calvin Hill.
Epix has had major support via an alliance with Ross Greenburg Productions, which Greenburg launched following a storied and 52-time Emmy Award-winning career of more than three decades at HBO; and Starship SA under the auspices of Seth Abraham, whose sports production and management resume dates back to the 1970s and includes game-changing tenures at HBO Sports, Time Warner Sports and Madison Square Garden Company.
The newest joint venture between Epix and Greenburg is the Road to the NHL Winter Classic and the Road to the NHL Stadium Series, each a four-part all-access documentary leading to two of the league's outdoor jewel events.
The first follows the Bridgestone Winter Classic, with four weekly episodes beginning Dec. 16 and leading to the game on Jan. 1, 2015 in Nationals Park in Washington, DC, between the host Capitals and the visiting Chicago Blackhawks. The second goes inside the Coors Light Stadium Series, with four weekly episodes beginning Feb. 3 in advance of the game on Feb. 21 in Levi's Stadium, home of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers, between the host San Jose Sharks and the visiting defending NHL champion Los Angeles Kings.
In addition to running on Epix, both series are being made available free to viewers — including what the NHL called a fan base of "almost 60 million U.S. hockey fans" — via platforms including the Epix and NHL Web sites and Facebook pages and the official apps of Epix and the NHL, respectively. People in the U.S. who are not Epix subscribers will be able to register for a limited free trial at Epix.com.
Both Road to the NHL Winter Classic and the Road to the NHL Stadium Series are being supported by multi-media campaigns that include TV, print, radio, outdoor, digital and social media. The effort also features Kevin Smith, actor/producer/director/writer and uber hockey fan, who will appear in a series of spots and host weekly recaps of all episodes under the banner, Kevin Smith's Penalty Box.
According to John Collins, COO for the NHL, "Hockey fans have a strong appetite for original and engaging content built on storytelling. Epix has developed an impressive reputation for its high-quality original sports programming and access to its content across a multitude of platforms."
NHL Heats Up Epix Marketing For Outdoor Winter Classic, Stadium Series
Back to Top Sports Marketers of the Year 2014
Back to Home Page