Sunday December 3, 2023

Sports Documentary Boom Continues

  • ESPN is producing a documentary series on Derek Jeter called The Captain, following sports documentaries The Last Dance and Drive to Survive.
  • The series will be made in association with MLB and The Players Tribune, which Jeter founded.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports/Design: Alex Brooks
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For years, Derek Jeter was the New York Yankees’ diplomat to the press, a steady presence through team struggles and clubhouse drama. A new documentary series from ESPN promises a deeper look at The Captain.

Jeter, who retired in 2014 at 40, was the face of the dominant late-’90s Yankees and won five World Series titles. He made $266 million from his playing salary, and his endorsement deals included Jordan and Gatorade. 

“The Captain” will be produced in association with Major League Baseball and The Players Tribune, an athlete-focused publication Jeter founded in 2014 and sold to Minute Media in 2019. 

Jeter owns about 4% of the Miami Marlins, which he acquired with Bruce Sherman and others for $1.2 billion in 2017. 

Sports documentaries are in a boom period.

  • Fox hinted at an unscripted Tom Brady series this week.
  • Documentaries on John Madden (Fox Sports), Joe Montana (Peacock), and Kevin Garnett (Showtime) are also in the works.

“The Captain” will debut on ESPN and ESPN+ in 2022. ESPN+ subscriptions grew 75% in the fiscal second quarter to 13.8 million, helping Disney reach $15.9 billion in revenue

ESPN and Netflix’s “The Last Dance,” about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls dynasty, was wildly successful. The 10-part series averaged 6.1 million viewers for episodes 1 and 2 across ESPN and ESPN2 in 2020.

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