The broadcast premiere of the feature-length documentary The Nagano Tapes tonight on NBC Sports Network at 11:30 PM ET (after the Red Wings-Blues game) kicks off a five-film deal for Mandalay Sports Media and Frank Marshall’s Five Ring Films for The Olympic Channel.
The debut docu, about the men’s hockey tournament at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games when professional players participated in the Games for the first time, will be followed in the spring by La Lucha, directed by Peter Berg, about Cuban boxing legend and three-time Olympic gold medalist Teofilo Stevenson, who famously turned down $5 million to fight Muhammad Ali. Also in the works is a film on Argentina’s stunning gold-medal run, led by Manu Ginobli, at the 2014 Athens Games in men’s basketball.
The docus are part of keeping the heat from the just-ended Winter Games in PyeongChang. The Olympic Channel, which launched in August 2016, just wrapped wall-to-wall coverage that included news and features to supplement NBC and NBCSN’s coverage in South Korea. (NBCSN posted its most-watched month ever — 768,000 total viewers total day — during the Games that wrapped Sunday.) The Olympic Channel is year-round and offering original programming, news, live events and highlights to promote Olympic sports.
Nagano Tapes, which focuses on the underdog Czech Republic’s run to go the gold against superteams from the U.S., Canada and Russia, also bows tonight on The Olympic Channel website and its mobile apps in addition to broadcasts on Eurosport in Europe and beIN Sports in the Middle East and North Africa. It re-airs on Olympic Channel at 9 PM Thursday. (Check out the trailer below.)
Earlier this month, MSM’s Mike Tollin closed a deal with Jon Dorenbos for a movie about the longtime Philadelphia Eagles long-snapper who moonlights as a magician. He is now fast-tracking an adaptation of Dornbos’ book Life Is Magic. Tollin will produce the pic, with development financed through the inspirational sports film slate he’s assembling through a recent deal involving IMG and MSM.
Here’s the trailer: