RIVALS: An Ohio State vs. Michigan rivalry documentary you won’t want to miss
If you’re an Ohio State fan — or Michigan fan for that matter — there’s a new documentary you won’t want to miss in the very near future. We all remember the HBO production “Michigan vs. Ohio State – The Rivalry,” and we’re sure a lot of you know that one well (I have a copy of it in my collection), but there are more than a few reasons to take RIVALS in as it comes from a different slant. It’s titled “Rivals: Ohio State vs. Michigan,” and it also dives into “The Game.”
Without spoiling anything for you, it does more than just dig into players and personalities from the storied rivalry (though there’s still plenty of that), it tries to answer what goes into creating and sustaining a rivalry with Ohio State vs. Michigan as the test case.
We got an advanced screening here at Buckeyes Wire of the fun and lively documentary from the Sinclair Broadcast Group and the Tennis Channel, in partnership with DLP Media Group, and can confirm that it’s well worth your time.
“Rivals: Ohio State vs. Michigan,” goes through the history of the rivalry by looking at how it was formed, the ebbs and flows of it, but then peels back the layers of an onion that’s part scarlet and gray, part maize and blue to look at the psychology of a rivalry and the different attributes that make up rivalries.
It’s all based on research, data, and findings from KnowRivarly.com which set out to use data derived from human behavior and surveys to define what a rivalry is. There’s even video and new information even the most committed and passionate Ohio State or Michigan fan probably hasn’t run across before.
The documentary is narrated by well-known Ohio State superfan J.K. Simmons, and also has Michigan fan and sports personality, Rich Eisen, kicking in commentary. There are also appearances from players like Archie Griffin and the Boren family, as well as media personalities that have covered the rivalry over the years from both sides.
So, when can you watch “Rivals: Ohio State vs. Michigan?” Well, before Ohio State and Michigan face each other later this month naturally. RIVALS will premiere Saturday, Nov. 5 at 4 p.m. ET on Bally Sports Great Lakes and Bally Sports Ohio. The documentary will replay throughout the month on these platforms and will later be distributed among other media outlets including the Big Ten Network.
You can click on the link and type in your local zip code to confirm air dates and times: RivalsDocuseries.com.
NEXT … The Press Release
BALTIMORE – October 27, 2022 – Today, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tennis Channel Studios (TC Studios), in partnership with the Emmy-Award winning DLP Media Group, announced they have produced a new documentary special, RIVALS. The film will take a deep dive into the high-profile, storied college-football matchup between Michigan and Ohio State, offering viewers unique perspectives from legendary players, sports journalists and announcers, scientists, historians and more. It was created in collaboration with Jon Wertheim, Tennis Channel reporter, CBS’ 60 Minutes correspondent, Sports Illustrated senior writer and author. RIVALS will premiere November 5 on multiple Bally Sports regional networks, and run throughout the month on a wide variety of Sinclair and other platforms, with a nationwide debut on Tennis Channel November 20 at 7 p.m. ET (website with schedule information below).
RIVALS is set to debut throughout November across the Bally Sports regional sports networks (RSNs), Bally Sports+, Marquee and YES Network, along with the Sinclair broadcast stations, Tennis Channel and Big Ten Network. In all, the documentary will run more than 350 times. Its expansive distribution approach will see the film run immediately following highly viewed NBA, NHL and other events on the RSNs and stations, which often lead their local markets in ratings. Michigan and Ohio State – both members of the Big Ten Conference – are scheduled to play on November 26, after which RIVALS will run on Big Ten Network.
“The opportunity to create and share this special came from the unique ability to program across Sinclair’s stations and RSNs, game adjacent to some of the most watched live competitions around the country,” said Ken Solomon, president, Tennis Channel. “While this is a sports documentary, ultimately it’s not like anything anyone’s ever seen. RIVALS is about people and our society, why sports matter to so many, and how competition pushes us to excellence. And what better rivalry to explore this than through one of the greatest ever?”
RIVALS takes a comprehensive look back at the storied history between two of the top Division I football programs in NCAA history. Narrated by Academy Award-winning actor J.K. Simmons (who was born in Michigan but remains a rabid Ohio State fan), the show gleans the perspective of more than 30 others whose lives have been similarly impacted by the never-ending fight between the two schools. Among them are Archie Griffin, the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner; legendary players Dan Dierdorf and Keith Byars; broadcasters Rich Eisen and Joe Klatt; historians Jack Park and John Bacon; and veteran journalists from the Columbus, Ohio, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, markets, the homes of Ohio State and Michigan, respectively. The two-hour documentary reveals the science behind what makes a sports rivalry so compelling, how the matchup repeatedly delivers nail biting performances and why it has been historically revered as The Game.
The film marks Tennis Channel’s debut of production studio TC Studios, and is the network’s first documentary for a sport other than tennis. The RIVALS concept stems from the success of the network’s Emmy Award-nominated Strokes of Genius in 2018, also a collaboration with Wertheim and based on his earlier book of the same name. Strokes of Genius looked at the long-running rivalry between tennis legends Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. RIVALS expands the scope to college football and an annual standoff every bit as fierce.
“As we created Strokes of Genius we realized we were telling more than a tennis story,” said Wertheim. “The film was less about the competition between Federer and Nadal and more about how they were each better for having to face one another again and again at the highest level, which is exactly what we see with Michigan and Ohio State football. We really appreciate the help of both schools for this project, as well as the Big Ten Conference and the Big Ten Network.”
Sinclair Broadcast Group is supporting the launch of RIVALS with a partnership with direct marketer Valpak, which will promote the film in 3.1 million homes in Michigan and Ohio in late October. Also this month, a one-minute RIVALS trailer will run in approximately 1,000 medical facilities, car dealerships and retail outlets around the United States. The company will also hold watch parties in Columbus and Ann Arbor.
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