History preps worldwide television event in advance of 2018 World Cup

A+E Networks International is looking to capitalize on the momentum of the 2018 World Cup with a global broadcast event on its History channels. The company has unveiled its “History of ...
January 16, 2018

A+E Networks International is looking to capitalize on the momentum of the 2018 World Cup with a global broadcast event on its History channels.

The company has unveiled its “History of Football” initiative — a 14-day, 24/7 television event running from May 28 to Jun 10, 2018, in advance of the 2018 World Cup. David Villa (pictured, above), World Cup Winner and one of the most decorated players in the world, is the global press spokesperson.

Patrick Vien, A+E Networks International’s executive managing director, says one of the responsibilities he was tasked with when joining the company last December was to manage the programming strategy for channels outside the U.S.

“I wanted to embrace one of the creative programming concepts that is exciting today — producing creatively ambitious television events,” he explains. “Television events that have a wide scope and that also marry themselves to cultural momentum on their own.”

He says putting History’s own imprint on the momentum behind the World Cup was the principle behind the conception of the ‘History of Football’ stunt.

As part of the programming event, History globally will present a slate of original documentary series and short form specials, complemented by a curation of World Cup films.

Airing in over 160 territories in territories including Brazil, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom; as well as across Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia, History channels will also broadcast locally-sourced television series and documentaries with the aim of offering a unique lens into each country’s particular passions for football.

Confirmation regarding U.S. or Canadian broadcasts of the content was unavailable at press time.

“The History channel brand is present in 200 territories and broadcasts in 41 languages — the idea of being global really means that you are local in many places,” says Vien. “As a multicultural brand with a multicultural group of people working behind it, embracing multiculturalism is vital to the program’s success around the world.”

Every major territory taking part will present over 40 hours of content which will be a blend of global and local programming.

Vien says this was a particularly important concept for ‘History of Football’ because the sport is viewed differently across the world. Japan and Brazil, for example, would have different protagonists on the pitch, or the coaches and owners that they find interesting.

“We wanted to feed the event with creatively ambitious programming, which is why we produced three original doc series with multi-episodes that themselves will be looking at the sport through a multicultural lens.”

These originals include History’s Greatest Moments in Football (5 x 60 minutes), Football Godfathers (5 x 60 minutes) and Football’s Greatest: Head to Head (5 x 30 minutes).

Additional components associated with the event include social media activations and interactions with local football brands.

“With opinions on football so strong amongst fans worldwide, History’s vast programming slate for this event will aim to engage and ignite an entertaining debate on exactly what were the ultimate historic moments of the sport, who stands as the best player in history, which coaches most shaped the game and so much more,” said Dan Korn, EP of History of Football and VP, programming for A+E UK in a statement. “For both the most intense and the more casual fans, History will present 14 days of nothing but the story of the game.”

“We live in a world today that’s so cluttered with programming opportunities that in order to continue nourishing the cultural relevance of the brand, occasions like this give us the opportunity to get in front of a cultural moment and be a lead voice in that cultural moment,” Vien tells realscreen.

See below a list of the global originals of ‘History of Football’ along with descriptions provided by the network:

History’s Greatest Moments in Football (5 x 60) chronicles the teams and players in recent World Cup history, whose skills and achievements transcended their sport to represent something far greater to fans and non-fans alike, and fueled the sport’s unstoppable growth into the commercial behemoth we know today.  Episodes include: 1. Pele and the Boys from Brazil and Argentina; 2. Pavarotti, Gazza and the Lions of Cameroon; 3. The Three Musketeers, 4. Bring Me the Head of Diego Armando Maradona, and 5. Seven Goals That Shook the World. Each reveals the stories behind football’s most incredible and significant moments with the players, coaches and fans who made them happen. Episodes 1, 2 and 3 are produced by Goalhanger Films;  4 and 5 are produced by North One Television.

Football Godfathers (5 x 60) presents five powerful documentaries delving into the minds and strategies of the world’s greatest and most revered club managers, revealing how they rose – often from relatively undistinguished playing careers – to become the global superstars of the sport we know today. Each of the five titans of our modern game is profiled in an intimate and honest portrayal of their achievements, both on and off the field using archival and interview material with the people and players who know them best.  Produced by Zig Zag Productions.

Football’s Greatest: Head to Head (5 x 30) matches up the greatest players of yesteryear with the greatest of today, to find out once and for all, who is the greatest of them all.  Every generation has an opinion on who is the world’s greatest player. For the older generation, it’s Pele, Puskas, Eusebio, Di Stefano or Charlton. For today’s generation, it’s all about Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Lionel Messi or David Villa vs. Thomas Müller.  And for those of us in between, it’s a discussion of the respective talents of Maradona, Zidane, Gullit or Van Basten.  With an expert panel of World Cup players and winners, and using hard science of statistics, as well as the romance of style and passion, this series will set out to resolve the most vexing question in sport.  Produced by Goalhanger Films. 

Among the featured “Shorts” will be:

  • The Photographer – Gerry Cranham and Mark Leech have been widely credited as capturing some of football’s most memorable moments. From the ’60s onward they have captured and immortalized the most incredible highlights from the greatest show on turf, many of which have never been seen before.  These are the World Cup’s forgotten images.
  • The Scout – Piet De Visser is considered one of the greatest football scouts in the world. He is credited with finding global footballing superstars such as Jaap Stam, David Luiz, Marc Overmars, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne.  Here, he reveals his secrets for the first time.
  • The Superfan – Manuel Caceres Artesero, better known as ‘Manolo el del bombo’ [Manolo the bass drummer…], is a national institution in Spain and a mega fan who wears a number 12 jersey every day and runs his own unique fans’ bar in Valencia, which doubles as a museum of Spanish football. He came to international prominence when his famous drum was stolen last year.
  • The Referee – Jawahir Jewels has been described as one of the most remarkable referees in England. At 23, she is the only FA-qualified female ethnic Muslim official currently working in the game, where she regularly tackles rowdy players at pitches on the infamous Hackney Marshes in East London.
  • The Prodigy – Four-year-old Marco Antonio might be young, but his football skills have many already calling him the next Neymar. His parents see his skill with the ball as a ticket out of one of Rio de Janeiro’s toughest favelas. But his promising future career hangs perilously in the balance due to severe intestinal problems that require medical expertise not available in his country.
About The Author
Jillian Morgan is the Associate Editor at Realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.