SXSW ’14: ESPN opens up Exit 31 to expand storytelling

U.S. net ESPN is combining the resources of ESPN Films, Bill Simmons' Grantland and Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight under a new umbrella content unit called Exit 31. (Pictured: 30 for 30 Soccer Stories)
March 10, 2014

U.S. net ESPN is combining the resources of ESPN Films, Bill Simmons’ Grantland and Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight under a new umbrella content unit called Exit 31, in an initiative aimed at experimenting with subjects, formats, editorial approaches and platforms to complement the net’s storytelling abilities.

Exit 31 - named for the exit that leads to ESPN’s Bristol headquarters – has a slate of initial projects that includes FiveThirtyEight Films, a collaboration between FiveThirtyEight and ESPN Films to create short- and long-form films; Grantland’s The Finish Line, an exclusive series on basketball player Steve Nash’s return to the Lakers; ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 Soccer Stories (pictured above) and ongoing 30 for 30 Shorts; the recently announced documentary series Inside: U.S. Soccer’s March to Brazil, which follows the U.S. men’s soccer team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil; and a new Grantland video podcast network.

Marie Donoghue, ESPN Film’s senior VP of global strategy, business development and business affairs, will head Exit 31.

“Formally combining these teams will create a collaborative studio environment whose mission will be to take risks and experiment with editorial approach, visual presentation and programming across platforms,” said Donoghue in a statement.

“We hope to continue to bring a variety of creative people into ESPN from varied sources – including non-traditional sports media sources – to cross-pollinate within Exit 31 and across ESPN’s existing and award-winning content divisions.”



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