ESPN Films traces its history to 2001, when ESPN Inc. formed ESPN Original Entertainment, a programming division which produced various talk shows, series, documentaries and made-for-TV films that aired on ESPN and its related networks. The subsidiary ceased operations for several months starting in 2007.
On 3 March 2008, ESPN announced that it would relaunch the unit as ESPN Films. Under the restructuring, ESPN Films began producing projects for theatrical release in addition to television; majority corporate parent The Walt Disney Company holds the right of first refusal on all projects. In addition, ESPN announced a new alliance with the Creative Artists Agency, which among its various clients, represents athletes such as LeBron James, David Beckham and Peyton Manning.
The first production under the ESPN Films banner was Black Magic, a four-hour documentary that premiered on ESPN without commercial interruption over two consecutive nights starting on March 16, 2008. The film, which won a Peabody Award in 2009, about the history of basketball played at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The company's first theatrical film was X Games 3D: The Movie, which was released on August 21, 2009.
ESPN Original Entertainment
Logo: On a white background, we see a black ESPN logo. "SPN" retracts into the E, which rotates to form three wave-like lines, from which "espnoriginalentertainment" emerges. Everything retracts, leaving "entertainment", then "eoe" appears, then retracts into the lines, which turn back into the ESPN logo.
Technique: The animation.
Music/Sounds: A piano jingle ending with an ascending triumphant horn theme.
Availability: Until recently, appeared in front of Pardon the Interruption and Around the Horn. Appears on DVD releases of ESPN's original movies. This was also seen in front of Stump the Schwab as well.
1st Logo (August 21, 2009- )
Logo: A series of images from a football and golf game is seen. The images turn to the left, and the outline of the ESPN logo is seen and it begins to flash, revealing "ESPN FILMS".
Technique: The images turning and the flashing.
Availability: Can be seen on theatrical films produced by the studio.
2nd Logo (October 6, 2009-July 30, 2015)
Logo: Images of various athletes are seen in a sepia-tone as a dust-like effect reveals "ESPN FILMS".
Technique: The camera moving around the images and the revelation of the text.
Music/Sounds: A short beat and metallic hiss when the text is revealed.
Availability: Can be seen on the first two seasons of 30 for 30.
3rd Logo (October 13, 2015- )
Logo: We move back from a camera lens to see the ESPN Films logo in the same design as the previous two logos. It then zooms forward and we zoom into the lens.
Technique: The zooming.
Music/Sounds: Same as the previous logo.
Availability: Can be seen on 30 for 30 beginning with Season 3.