ESPN Previews 'Fifty/50' Programming for 50th Anniversary of Title IX

Docs, podcasts and more are coming in June

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the passing of Title IX, ESPN is planning a monthlong original-programming push in June highlighting the fight for gender equality in sports and culture. The network released a 30-second spot today, timed to International Women's Day, previewing the project.

The spot, created by Arts & Letters Creative Co., features actress Tessa Thompson reading the text of Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any education institution that receives federal funding. Title IX is best known for its impact on high school and collegiate athletics—given women athletes equal rights of participating.

ESPN presents Fifty/50

The programming in June will include 50 women's stories told in multiple formats, from long-form reporting to documentary storytelling, podcasts, features, and digital and social platforms. They include:

  • 37 Words, a four-part docuseries from Dawn Porter, a central piece of the content looking at the decades-spanning fight to nullify Title IX’s significance; the rippling impact of the law across society, access and equality; and how that struggle continues today
  • Fifty/50 Shorts, a series of stand-alone short docs about women in sports and battle for equality—made by directors Allison Glock, Kate T. Parker, Shayla Harris, Bethany Mollenkof, Elizabeth Lo and Bonni Cohen, and executive producer Robin Roberts
  • Dream On, a three-part 30 for 30 docuseries about the 1996 U.S. women’s Olympic basketball team and how it led to the birth of the WNBA
  • Our America: Fifty/50, a collection of eight short documentaries profiling young women and girls associated with the Women Sports Foundation and espnW’s Sports 4 Life Program

"Title IX is one of the most significant pieces of civil rights legislation in America's history, but it may also be the most misunderstood," Porter says of her documentary. "I wanted to make this film because it speaks not just to my heart, but to issues that remain critical today. This is a story we think we know, but don't."

"This initiative is an incredible undertaking by our team to provide a 360-degree view of the journey of women in sports and to underscore our commitment to telling women's stories," says Jimmy Pitaro, chairman, ESPN and sports content. "Fifty/50 promises to be a project about a story in progress, examining where we've been and where we're headed."

"Fifty/50 is such an important and exciting initiative, and we set out to make something that honored the past 50 years and all the women who have moved the sports world and the world at large forward," adds Molly Jamison, creative director at Arts & Letters. "By using a seamless interconnected visual technique against the simple, but powerful 37 words of Title IX, we showed how each contribution and person in this fight has pushed progress and created unstoppable momentum into the future."

CREDITS

CLIENT: ESPN
Laura Gentile: EVP, Commercial Marketing, Disney Networks & ESPN
Rachel Epstein: Senior Director, Emerging Properties & Brands
Christina Ryan: Marketing Manager, Emerging Properties & Brands
Amanda Marcotullio: Marketing Manager, Emerging Properties & Brands
Stennett Smith: Associate Marketing Manager, Emerging Properties & Brands

AGENCY: ARTS & LETTERS CREATIVE CO.
Charles Hodges: Founder, Executive Creative Director
Molly Jamison: Creative Director
NJ Placentra: Creative Director
Lillian O'Connor: Creative
Brett Simone: Creative
Temma Shoaf: Director of Production
Calleen Colburn: Executive Producer
Rachel Acors: Senior Producer
Rich Weinstein: Managing Director
Brenda Schneider: Group Business Director
Hill Shore: Business Director
Erin Shepherd: : Business Manager
Andy Grayson: Director of Strategy
Jessica Sartoretto: Strategy Director
Alex Morrison: Strategy Director
Millie Tunnell: Strategist
Nana Dadzie: Strategist
Lenora Cushing: Director of Business Affairs
Jennifer Kmetzsch: Business Affairs Assistant
Casey Wheeler: Music Supervisor
Tom Anesta: Group Manager

EDITORIAL: Cosmo Street Editorial
Marlo Caine: Editor 
Moss Levenson: Assistant Editor
Amanda Slamin: Senior Producer 
Jon Magel: Lead Flame Artist
John Erdman: Lead Animator
Cara Flynn: Senior Finishing Producer

COLOR: Company 3
Kath Raisch: Colorist

AUDIO MIX:: WAVE NY
Chris Afzal: Sound Designer & Mixer
Eleni Giannopoulos: Producer

LICENSING
Courtesy of University of Illinois
Schlesinger Library, Harvard Radcliffe Institute
The562.org

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards, editor of Muse by Clio, and host of the podcast Tagline. He is the former creative editor of Adweek.

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