There’s something so alluring about shows that tell interesting sports stories — ESPN’s “30 for 30” is one such show. When the show was created by Bill Simmons and Connor Schell, the overarching idea was to create 30 sports documentaries to mark ESPN’s 30 years anniversary. The first volume was a huge success and for that, the show had to continue. Well, it didn’t just continue, it also grew into a franchise.

Where Can You Watch “First Take?”

There’s a lot more to know about “30 for 30.” This article will bring you up to speed with all the latest information about the show.

Where Can You Watch “30 for 30?”

“30 for 30” recently returned with new installments to the “30 for 30″ library. First, there was “The Greatest Mixtape Ever” which premiered on ESPN. Its most recent release is “Dream On.” The documentary profiles the USA Women’s Basketball Team that dominated women’s basketball at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and how their conquest is instrumental to the development of WNBA and women’s athletics generally. 

You can stream these recent releases on ESPN+, DIRECTV Stream, and FuboTV if you’re a subscriber. Also, if you fancy catching up on the past seasons and episodes of the docuseries, the full library is available on ESPN+, FuboTV, and Hulu.  You’re also able to stream them when you buy or purchase them on Google Play Store, Vudu, and Amazon Instant Video

What Are the Best “30 for 30” Episodes?

There have been so many episodes of “30 for 30” that selecting a few out of the pack is tedious work — but we did it nonetheless. 

Below is a highlight of the best “30 for 30” episodes. These episodes were selected based on popular opinion—critic reviews and audience ratings available online. 

“This Was the XFL:”

NFL has always dominated American football, and to compete with it NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol and WWE chairman Vince McMahon launched XFL. The XFL did fail but somehow left its mark on American sports entertainment. This episode takes a look at its impact. 

“Winning Time – Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks:”

This episode takes a look at the career-defining moment when Indiana Pacers’ Reggie Miller single-handedly destroyed the New York Knicks in the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinal match. Miller scored eight points in the last 8.9 seconds to earn his team a hard-fought victory over the New York City-based team.

“The Two Escobars:”

Colombia was tipped as one of the favorites to win the 1994 World Cup. However, an own goal by defender Andres Escobar saw them eliminated from the competition.

In retaliation, Andres Escobar was reportedly murdered on July 2, 1994. Columbian drug-lord Pablo Escobar was reportedly responsible for Andres Escobar’s death.

“The Two Escobars,” tells the tale of the relationship between soccer and the underground world of narcos.

“June 17, 1994:”

June 17, 1994, was action-packed and remarkable for a few events. On the one hand, the FIFA 1994 World Cup hosted by the USA was scheduled to kick off with a match between Brazil and Italy.

There was also an NBA finals game five between the Houston Rockets and the New York Knicks. However, the event — which took center stage — was the infamous run of O.J. Simpson from the police after his wife’s murder.

The “June 17, 1994” documentary film showcases the imagery of the events that took place that day. 

“Elway to Marino:”

The record selection of six quarterbacks in the 1983 NFL draft came as a shock to every sports fan. In this episode, NFL films’ senior coordinating producer, Ken Rodgers, takes a fascinating dive into the behind-the-scenes events that led to this notable selection.

“Of Miracles and Men:”

This episode tells the story of how America beat the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympic hockey tournament. The story is told from the Soviet players’ perspective as Vladislav Tretiak and Slava Fetisov narrate the impact of the defeat on the team.

“The U:”

“The U” tells the story of how coach Jimmy Johnson and a few high-profile players turned around the fortune of the Miami Hurricanes in the 1980s after an initial streak of terrible runs.

“The House of Steinbrenner:”

Oscar-winning Barbara Kopple takes a look at how the MLB team, the New York Yankees, dominated American sports for decades before their decline under then owners, CBS. A major part of the episode highlights the transformation of the Yankees under the ownership of George Steinbrenner. 

What is “30 for 30” About?

“30 for 30” is a series of documentary films highlighting interesting events and people in sports history. The show made its debut on Oct. 6, 2009, airing on ESPN and its sister networks — ESPN2, ABC, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN+. 

“30 for 30” began airing as film episodes and a series of shorts, then soon began to air soccer stories, and later the show had an audio podcast — the “30 for 30 Podcast.”

As part of the expansion and in advance of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the producers of the show launched a new series titled “30 for 30: Soccer Stories.” The 30-minute-long documentary film and standalone feature-length series told compelling stories about international soccer and legends of the beautiful game. 

About the Creators of “30 for 30”

One of the standout points of “30 for 30” is the creativity and the epic storytelling approach employed in all the episodes. A show like this must certainly have some amazing creators behind it — the numerous awards it has received are proof of that.

Bill Simmons and Connor Schell are the co-creators of “30 for 30” and here’s what we know about the filmmakers.

Bill Simmons:

Bill Simmons

Popularly known as “The Boston Sports Guy,” American sports analyst, podcaster, author, and former sports writer, Bill Simmons became popular for his sports editorials which he published on his own website. His popularity increased after he became a columnist on ESPN. His series of work with ESPN earned him several award nominations and recognitions.

After a fallout with ESPN in 2016, Simmons launched his own sports company — The Ringer. The company has a sports website, a film production unit, and a host of podcast shows. In Mar. 2020, Simmons sold the company to Spotify — the first payout was $155 million.

Similarly, in 2020, Simmons became the first podcaster to be named in Celebrity 100 — Forbes’ annual list of highest-paid entertainers. 

Simmons is married to Kari Simmons whom he often refers to as “The Sports Gal” in his writings. Together, the couple has two children — Zoe Simmons and Benjamin Oakley Simmons.

Connor Schell:

Connor Schell

Over the years, Connor Schell has built a name for himself as one of America’s finest film producers. In fact, many in the television and films industry consider him one of the best storytellers around. 

Schell is renowned for co-creating “30 for 30” with Bill Simmons, as well as deputizing as an executive producer of the docuseries, a work for which he has received multiple Emmy and Peabody awards. He was also the executive producer of ESPN’s hit miniseries, “The Last Dance” and its documentary film “O.J.: Made in America” for which ESPN received its first Oscar.

Just like it is often said that more work is the reward for hard work, in 2017, Schell was promoted to the role of the executive, vice president of content at ESPN. For the next four years, Schell oversaw ESPN’s content creation across all platforms — television, print, and digital. 

Connor Schell announced his departure from ESPN in 2020 to begin an independent production company. Interestingly, his first client was ESPN as the former executive continued to work closely with ESPN films on “30 for 30.” 

Still on his new adventures, in 2021, Schell teamed up with Chernin Entertainment to create a non-fiction studio — Words and Pictures. The studio aims to develop and produce “high quality, culturally relevant, non-fiction storytelling both inside and outside of the sports world.” He serves as a member of the board of directors alongside Chernin Entertainment co-founders, Peter Chernin and Jesse Jacobs.

Schell is married to Melissa and they have three kids — Lucy, Clara, and Wilson.

How Many Seasons and Episodes of “30 for 30” Are There?

The “30 for 30” franchise includes three seasons or volumes as the producers describe it — the first two seasons airing 30 episodes each. Volume three is still on and there are new installments being rolled out from time to time. 

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Rebecca Swanson

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV