ESPN will launch the E60 documentary Without equal Sunday, June 26.
The hockey documentary will explore the storied ’90s rivalry between the Colorado Avalanche and the Detroit Red Wings, timely information given Colorado’s return to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Avs are currently up 2-0 over the Tampa Bay Lightning, but if the series lasts six games, Without equal will be the afternoon lineup for the 26th before Game 6, which airs at 8:00 p.m. EST on ABC.
We have known Without equal for a while now, but a post today from ESPN fleshed out a lot of the details.
In the spring of 1997, in a series of interviews, Avalanche and Red Wings players were asked to define the word “rivalry.” Avalanche forward Claude Lemieux said “it starts on the ice, but if it stays there, it’s not much.”
It all started with two decorated teams of highly skilled future Hall of Famers relentlessly pursuing the holy grail of their sport. It has become a fierce clash, fueled by an unmistakable hatred not often seen in major sports. It was more than just a rivalry; it was a blood feud. Its white-hot intensity would lead to thrilling yet chilling games and moments, indelible victories and premeditated acts of revenge. The story of the rivalry is one of lifelong bonds, life-changing moments, remarkable brotherhood, and unprecedented public judgment on revenge and retribution. Two and a half decades later, those who were part of it are still figuring out how the brutal rivalry got as far as it did.
In Unrivaled, viewers will hear from many people who were involved with both teams at the time, including Lemieux, who was at the center of the early rivalry which erupted on March 25, 1997, in a massive brawl at the Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena. Red Wings’ Kris Draper, who was badly injured when he was checked from behind by Lemieux in a playoff game the previous year, and Darren McCarty, who was seeking revenge on Lemieux in the big fight , also talk about the rivalry in the program .
ESPN also included another trailer:
While the document itself sounds fascinating, there is one note about the streaming presentation that stood out:
After the initial broadcast on Sunday afternoon, an expanded version of Unrivaled with exclusive content will be available for on-demand streaming on ESPN+.
ESPN has for some time made its documentary archive a key aspect of its ESPN+ content library. The ability to have the 30 for 30 library available on demand is a great added value from the content point of view.
But overall, adding extended releases to the streaming platform could be a really good way to add even more value, and maybe even add subscribers. It’s not to say that E60 project will lead to a massive increase in the total number of subscriptions.
It is, however, a good idea to use ESPN+ in this way. With no broadcast constraints to consider, this allows for more detail and scenes that might appeal to the most diehard fans of a certain topic. It makes sense to treat it as its own platform, instead of just hosting stuff that has already appeared on ESPN proper.