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Sports Illustrated Launches Digital Channel

Sports Illustrated Thursday said it has launched a new digital channel that will feature original, sports-themed films.

Sports Illustrated Films will debut on the newly created channel and will feature content created from filmmakers within SI parent Time Inc. as well as outside the company, said officials.  SI will launch six films before the end of the year.

Two new films released today on the site include Brett Favre: Life After the Game, which profiles the NFL legendary quarterback, and The Rise and Fall of the Danbury Trashers, about a minor league hockey team based on a 2014 Sports Illustrated story.

The site will also feature an archive of more than 40 SI productions, including all three seasons of its series Underdogs, said officials.  

As part of the initiative, SI has reached a production agreement with Mandalay Sports Media and Velocity to produce a variety of programming under the “Sports Illustrated Films” banner, according to officials. Mandalay will produce Patrick and ‘Zo, focusing on the rivalry and friendship between legendary NBA centers Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning, while Velocity will develop a new video franchise devoted to the greatest moments in sports.

“We see amazing potential for Sports Illustrated-branded programming both domestically and internationally, and we are going to pursue those opportunities very aggressively,” said J.R. McCabe, senior vice president of Time Inc. Video in a statement. “Today’s announcements reflect the vision we have for many of our brands.”

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.