Research Outline

Athlete Documentary Production Deal Structuring


Identify how to best structure a deal between an athlete and a production company that is producing sports documentaries. The athlete is to be a production partner in a production company, and the goal is to identify what to offer them to become a partner (i.e. profits, percentage of the company, etc.). Identify how such deals are typically structured, what is usually offered, and how much. In addition, identify examples of what other athletes that have helped produce documentaries (such as for Netflix, Hulu, or other streaming networks) were offered for doing so.

Early Findings

  • When ESPN created the "30 for 30" documentaries in 2007, athletes were offered the "creative freedom to tell their stories the way they wanted."
  • It is estimated that Michael Jordan received somewhere between $3-4 million for his work in creating "The Last Dance" documentary with ESPN.
  • Some documentary filmmakers do not believe that subjects should be paid, as it taints the entire concept of the documentary aiming to capture and convey the truth about something.
  • The Athlete Content & Entertainment company (ACE Media) brought in $243 million in revenue during 2017 in the form of royalties, players dues, and other sources. ACE Media works with the NFLPA to produce media related to athletes in the NFL.