TCA: ESPN Films To Offer Soccer-Themed '30 For 30' Films, Documentaries

ESPN is gearing up for this summer's 2014 FIFA World Cup with a series of soccer-based documentaries, the sports network announced Saturday during the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif.

The series, 30 for 30: Soccer Stories, will consist of eight documentaries grounded in international soccer, according to Connor Schell, vice president of ESPN Films and Original Content. The package will consist of two feature length films – Hillsborough and White Blue and White – as well as six 30-minute films. Those titles include Garrincha: Crippled Angel; Barbosa—The Man Who Made All of Brazil Cry; Ceasfire Massacre; The Opposition; Mysteries of The Jules Rimet Trophy; and Maradona ’86, according to network officials.

ESPN will also create 10 vignettes surrounding the World Cup’s host country Brazil, said the network.

Overall, ESPN will offer coverage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup beginning June 12 through July 13. ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will televise all 64 matches of the tournament, along with 87 additional hours of live or original World Cup studio programming from Brazil.

The network Saturday announced that 2002 FIFA World Cup champion Gilberto Silva from Brazil and legendary Dutch footballer Rund van Nistelrooy will serve as studio analysts during its World Cup coverage.

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.