Co-presented by IFP and Made In NY Media Center by IFP

30 for 30 Podcasts is ESPN’s premium series of original sports audio documentaries.  A spin-off of the Oscar®-and Peabody Award-winning 30 for 30 documentary series, the podcast utilizes original interviews, archival sound, and the textured intimacy of the audio medium to explore compelling characters, teams, incidents and stores across the sports landscape.

30 for 30 Podcasts Story Workshop is looking for the next great 30 for 30 Podcast. Powered by IFP (Independent Filmmaker Project) and the Made In NY Media Center by IFP, the 30 for 30 Podcasts Story Workshop is accepting submissions for original audio story pitches.

Successful submissions (between 12-16 proposals) will be selected to participate in a private pitch session with 30 for 30 Podcasts and ESPN producers and development executives, at the Made in NY Media Center on July 24.

To submit, click APPLY below.


30 for 30 stories tend to meet a good number of the following criteria: 

  • ✔  Related in some way to sport, competition, athletes, fitness, or sport-like adventure. 
  • ✔  Historical (usually 5+ years).
  • ✔  Focused (single event illuminating a larger impact).
  • ✔  Sports as a setting to explore off-the-field themes (cultural, racial, societal, etc).
  • ✔  New angle on a story you thought you knew.
  • ✔  Has a larger impact and ripple effect/aftermath.
  • ✔  Clear narrative storytelling structure.
  • ✔  Wealth of archival audio available (pitch does not necessarily need direct access to materials at time of submission).
  • ✔  Compelling characters who are well-represented by archival tape, or willing to sit for interview, open up, and provide vivid detail (for pitch purposes, good to at least confirm that enough of the characters are still alive). 
  • ✔  Evergreen / clear ending point / no ongoing developments.
  • ✔  Minimum 30 minute run time.

Our stories typically avoid…

  • ✘  Centering around recent events (4 years or less).
  • ✘  Exploring a broad idea, theme, or concept, as opposed to a specific moment, team, or athlete.
  • ✘  Verite / all-access style.
  • ✘  Human interest, feel-good style / impact confined to a small group of individuals.
  • ✘  Straightforward biopic.

That being said, rules are made to be broken, and we’re game to consider experimental approaches including but not limited to non-narrated stories, stories with a unique/uncommon framing device, etc. If you’re not quite sure if a story a good fit for us, go ahead and submit it.

Additionally, we are interested in hearing pitches from not just podcasters and audio storytellers, but other experienced creatives in media and the arts: filmmakers, journalists, other writers, etc. If you’ve got a great story idea, but don’t have specific podcasting experience, we still want to hear your pitch.

Lastly, we also recommended that you listen to at least a few episodes of our podcasts, to get a feel for the stories and characters that drive 30 for 30 Podcasts

Questions to consider answering in your pitch summary:

  • Which character(s) and crucial scenes/moments will you build the narrative around?
  • What themes will the story explore beyond sports?
  • Do you personally have a unique perspective on the story? Do you have a personal connection to the story? Were you a passionate fan of the team or character at the center of the story?
  • Has this story been told in other prominent video or audio documentaries? If so, how will this version be different?
  • Why tell this story now?


ESPN’s interest in moving forward with any pitch does not necessarily include commitment to the submitter for any specific role on the production.  In fact, please note that submission of your pitch does not mean that the underlying concept or other material is unique or original, as ESPN receives a large number of overlapping and duplicate ideas. By submitting your pitch, you are agreeing to the terms in the attached waiver.

Any projects chosen through this process will be subject to ESPN’s standard terms and conditions of agreement with the production company for projects of this nature, including without limitation:

  • The project will be produced on a one-time flat fee basis.
  • A mutually agreed all-in, line item budget breaking down all costs (submitted by production company). 
  • All ESPN projects are non-union.
  • All content will be produced on a work for hire basis; ESPN will own the content and have the right to distribute in all means and media in perpetuity throughout the universe.
  • ESPN will provide relevant archival material that exists in its library but the production company is      expected to independently track down all other archival tape (we advise production budgets include costs for an archival researcher). Archival found in ESPN’s library is not necessarily owned by ESPN.
  • All content must be cleared for all means and media, worldwide, in perpetuity, by the contracted      production team.
  • ESPN requires the delivery of three rough cuts, a locked cut and a final, fully mixed cut. ESPN will      review all rough cuts and provide compiled feedback.
  • ESPN has final cut. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please only submit one final version of your application/pitch. We will not be able to accept updated materials after you hit submit. Our advice is to send when you're ready... early or right at the deadline, we'll be considering all submissions.

Program co-presented by IFP and Made in NY Media Center by IFP