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NewFronts ’14: Vice to launch sports channel

Vice is set to launch an online sports channel in June ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, with programming including the documentary series Vice World of Sports.
May 5, 2014

By Aaron Leaf

Vice is set to launch an online sports channel in June ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, company co-founder and CEO Shane Smith announced at the company’s NewFronts presentation on Friday (May 2) in Manhattan.

Vice Sports will bring the firm’s stable of video-driven online channels up to nine. The verticals are hosted on their site and on YouTube, where they have racked up some seven million subscribers.

Vice Sports’ mandate is to stay away from event coverage, focusing instead on the stories surrounding the games, such as the lives of the athletes and the fans. Vice World of Sports, a documentary show on the new channel, will be hosted by long-time Vice contributor Ryan Duffy, promising to take a deeper look at sports stories around the world.

In its trademark first-person style, Vice World of Sports will cover topics ranging from the Rangers/Celtics soccer rivalry, to reindeer racing in Norway and to mental health in the NFL.

Smith also confirmed Vice will be doing a third season of its documentary series with HBO.

“HBO is going to give me shit, but I don’t care,” he said, indicating that the U.S. pay-TV network had not yet signed off on an announcement.

Vice has recently launched and is in the process of launching dozens more new shows across its existing channels including Black Market, which will feature David Choe looking into the buying and selling of illicit goods from illegal guns in Miami, sex in the oil fields, and Codeine cough syrup in Los Angeles.

An as-yet-unnamed show on Vice’s music channel will, like their sports and food shows, approach the subject from a different angle — pairing comedian Kathy Griffin with rapper A$AP Rocky, or embedding with punk rockers fighting Islamic fundamentalism in Indonesia.

Motherboard Roundtable will be a discussion show about tech innovation looking at life-changing inventions from electric motorcycles to smart rifles.

Toxic is a new Vice News show that will pull together all of Vice’s environmental reporting — for example, stories on the oil pirates in Nigeria; a visit to the garbage gyre in the middle of the Pacific Ocean; and chemical pollution in southern Ontario.

Fresh Off The Boat, a show on the recently launched Munchies channel, follows chef and author Eddie Huang as he travels the world looking at food “as a way of understanding and observing the clash of civilizations” and cities in transition.

Brands who want to partner with Vice — and the company is still seeking sponsors for the new programming lineup — can create a custom media experience around the right show, the firm said. Recent examples would be their work with AT&T, which has a mobile tech show. At the channel level, something like The Creator’s Project, made in partnership with Intel, is also possible.

“Upfronts are weird because half of you are here to check out what Vice is doing. Some are journalists… some are hopefully going to give us money,” Smith said.

The company also announced that Vice will be featured in the next YouTube advertising campaign this summer, which forms part of the previously announced Google Preferred initiative.

Picture: Stephen Lovekin/FilmMagic at Google Brandcast

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.

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