ACC Network and ESPN Films are teaming up to produce a multi-part documentary on the history of the ACC Tournament.
The Tournament: A History of ACC Men’s Basketball Presented by New York Life will debut Monday, Feb. 7 at 9 p.m. ET following ACCN’s telecast of the Pitt-West Virginia game. Part 2 of the documentary will premiere directly afterward at 10 p.m. ET.
Two episodes of The Tournament will air each Monday at 9 and 10 p.m. ET through March 7. The 10-part documentary, spanning 1954 through 2020, will be the largest production of original programming for ACC Network since its launch in August 2019.
Here’s a look at the trailer for the docuseries:
For anyone wondering if the ACC Tournament warrants a multi-part documentary, consider the history and impact of the event. Beginning in 1954, the ACC was the first conference to determine its champion with a postseason tournament. And this was during an era when conferences received only one bid to the NCAA Tournament.
But the ACC Tournament also features the rich history of the conference with its many star players and iconic coaches. Michael Jordan, Ralph Sampson, David Thompson, Len Bias, and Tim Duncan are among the many to shine in the tourney. Of course, Dean Smith, MIke Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, and Jim Valvano headline the coaches who built their legends in those games. In addition, ACC play changed college basketball with innovations like the shot clock and three-point line.
The Tournament will also feature an ad campaign starring Grammy Award-winning rapper Rapsody leading viewers through ACC basketball history, the figures who made it, and the stories that will be told in each pair of episodes.
Filmmaker Jonathan Hock (who’s directed several 30 for 30 projects for ESPN Films among many documentary projects) and John Dahl (ESPN’s vice president and executive producer for original content, films, and special projects) are executive producers on the project. Emmy Award-winning director Larry Weitzman (NBA at 50, The Last Gladiators) helmed the longform series.
“After having the opportunity to work on the 30 for 30 Survive and Advance and later The Class That Saved Coach K, I was already a true believer in ACC basketball as the essence of the college game,” said Hock in the official ACCN announcement.
“But telling the story of the ACC Tournament from its very beginning was a journey of discovery for me and the whole production team, with every unopened film can revealing another treasure, and every interview bringing to life priceless stories. There’s no greater conference tournament in sports, and it’s all in here.”
“All we had to do was sit down with the wonderful characters who have created ACC lore, and the stories and the passion just poured out,” added Weitzman. “The challenge wasn’t finding enough fascinating material. The struggle was which amazing stories we would have to leave out.”
You can read a synopsis of each episode of The Tournament: A History of ACC Men’s Basketball at ESPN Press Room. The documentary premieres Feb. 7 at 9 p.m. ET.
Peter King: ‘Tom Brady Needs To Study Cris Collinsworth’
“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is.”
Peter King dedicated a not-insignificant portion of his “Football Morning in America” column this week to advice for Tom Brady. FOX announced last week that the Buccaneers’ quarterback will become the network’s lead NFL analyst upon his retirement.
Brady’s decision and his reported salary have been the source of much speculation and prediction amongst his soon-to-be colleagues.
King is optimistic that Tom Brady will be entertaining and informative when he makes his FOX debut. He did offer the GOAT a little bit of advice about what he should be doing in the months leading up to calling it quits on his playing days and starting his new career.
“I think what I’d do if I were Brady is study Cris Collinsworth—and honest to goodness, I don’t say that because I work for NBC,” he wrote. “I say it because Collinsworth knows how to talk X’s-and-O’s conversationally, he’s an easy listen, and he can criticize when the time comes.”
Interestingly, last week, Collinsworth says he hears from most former players that are getting ready to make the jump to broadcasting. He was surprised he never heard from Tom Brady before FOX announced their deal.
King had two other suggestions. The first was that Brady watch multiple games from start to finish so that he can hear what the give-and-take between a broadcaster and analyst sounds like. The other is that he has to commit to being interesting and not censoring himself. King has faith that Brady will be able to do that.
“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is. On that LeBron James show last year, Brady said, ‘Ninety percent of what I say is not what I’m thinking. There’s a part of me that doesn’t like conflict, so in the end I always just try to play it super-flat.’ That has to end once he’s on TV if he wants to be any good.”
Nick Wright Critical Of ABC Crew As Giannis Antetokounmpo Struggles In Game 7
“He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo started hot in Game 7 on Sunday. By the time the game ended though, the Boston Celtics were on their way to Miami for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals and the defending champions were headed back to Milwaukee.
The Celtics’ defense gave the Milwaukee Bucks fits in the second half. The ABC broadcast put a special spotlight on Antetokounmpo, who got multiple drives to the basket that he could not finish.
“The best has got to show up when the best is needed, and Giannis has been disappointing,” said Mark Jackson over a package of highlights of Giannis missing shots. “As great of a player as he is, given credit to the Celtics’ defense, but he has struggled offensively time and time again.”
Nick Wright of FS1 noticed and he didn’t appreciate it. He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.
Mike Been, Mark Jackson, and Jeff Van Gundy were not particularly hard on Giannis. The trio made the typical comments we hear when things aren’t going a great player’s way.
Wright did not harp on the issue beyond the single tweet. The outcome was not in doubt as the clock winded down. He gave credit to the Celtics rather than tweet about the Bucks or Giannis.
Stephanie McMahon: WWE Is A Better Advertising Investment Than Sports
“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys.”
Everyone knows that professional wrestling is scripted. The storylines, the outcomes of matches, all of it is predetermined. But in the eyes of WWE, that’s what makes their product so different, and better than traditional sports.
WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon told Deadline that when it comes to pitching advertisers, sports entertainment allows room for a range of different approaches to make something work.
“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys,” she said. “We have a leg up on sports. … You may object to what we do, but you’re never going to be bored.”
McMahon added that WWE has a much easier process in dealing with sponsors. Everything is handled in-house.
“We own all of the IP,” she said. “When brands deal with us, they just deal with us. We create something together.”
WWE is coming off a positive Q1 earnings report, which had the company up 27% in total revenue. Its two weekly primetime shows, Monday Night RAW and Friday Night SmackDown, continue to do well in ratings, and all special and pay-per-view events, in addition to its streaming platform WWE Network, are all housed on Peacock.