|30 for 30|
|No. of episodes||157|
|Production company||ESPN Films|
|Original release||October 6, 2009 –|
30 for 30 is the title for a series of documentary films airing on ESPN, its sister networks, and online highlighting interesting people and events in sports history. This includes three "volumes" of 30 episodes each, a 13-episode series under the ESPN Films Presents title in 2011–2012, and a series of 30 for 30 Shorts shown through the ESPN.com website. The series has also expanded to include Soccer Stories, which aired in advance of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and audio podcasts.
The idea for the series began in 2007 from ESPN.com columnist and Grantland.com founder Bill Simmons and ESPN's Connor Schell. The title, 30 for 30, derived from the series's genesis as 30 films in celebration of ESPN's 30th anniversary in 2009, with an exploration of the biggest stories from ESPN's first 30 years on-air, through a series of 30 one-hour films by 30 filmmakers. Volume I premiered in October 2009 and ran through December 2010, chronicling 30 stories from the "ESPN era", beginning with the network's founding in 1979. Each film in Volume I details a striking sports issue or event that occurred during those three decades, including what Simmons describes as "stories that resonated at the time [they occurred] but were eventually forgotten for whatever reason." Subsequent films, including Volume II and online-only shorts, expanded the series beyond the "ESPN era".
In September 2014, Schell said, "Even though we have been at this for five years now, there is no shortage of incredible moments from the world of sports, so that enables us to continue making 30 for 30 films we're proud of." In 2010, John Dahl, Connor Schell and Simmons served as 30 for 30's executive producers. In April 2018, it was announced that the entire archive of 30 for 30 films and shorts would be available on ESPN+, ESPN's direct-to-consumer online platform, once the service launched on April 12, 2018.
Main article: List of 30 for 30 films
|First aired||Last aired|
|Volume I||30||October 6, 2009||December 11, 2010|
|ESPN Films Presents||14||March 13, 2011||February 12, 2015|
|Shorts||TBA||May 15, 2012||TBA|
|Volume II||30||October 2, 2012||July 30, 2015|
|Soccer Stories||8||April 15, 2014||July 1, 2014|
|Volume III||30||October 13, 2015||July 2, 2019|
|Volume IV||30||September 10, 2019||TBA|
The A.V. Club review for the eighth entry, Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. the New York Knicks, called it "the most hotly anticipated [of the first eight]" and stated that "it more than lived up to the hype." Special praise was given to Brett Morgen's collage documentary June 17th, 1994 as a standout episode. The A.V. Club has given positive and negative reviews for different episodes in the series, with notable critical reviews of the three Volume I episodes that had involvement by the media production arms of Major League Baseball (Four Days in October), the NBA (Once Brothers) and NASCAR (Tim Richmond: To the Limit).
The series had a slow beginning. The first film, Peter Berg's Kings Ransom, a chronicle of Wayne Gretzky's trade from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings, premiered on October 6, 2009, to poor ratings. Kings Ransom drew a 0.5 national rating and a total viewership of 645,000. As awareness and critical acclaim grew, the viewing audience also grew. By the seventh episode, The U, the audience had grown to a 1.8 rating and well over 2 million viewers.
Cadillac and Levi's are the presenting sponsors of the series. The Cadillac name appears on the 30 for 30 logo, while the Levi's "go forth" slogan appears on the bottom corner of the screen during the directors interstitial comments, which appear for 45 seconds at the beginning of each film and 30 seconds at the end. Commercials for both companies were shown during every intermission during the original air dates, with Levi's guaranteed a 60-second commercial slot at the beginning of the third act. Cadillac replaced Honda as a primary sponsor; during its time as a contributor, Honda aired parts of its "Dream the Impossible" documentary series in the first commercial break. During broadcasts in the UK on BT Sport, these sponsorship logos are blurred out due to compliance regulations.
For its 30th birthday, ESPN commissioned a series of documentaries, called 30 for 30.
To celebrate its 30th birthday, the network is launching 30 for 30, a series of 30 one-hour films by 30 filmmakers covering the biggest sports stories over the network's first 30 years.