ESPN is aiming to fill the void left by postponed sports. The NBA season stopped on March 11 while NCAA's March Madness was canceled. Major League Baseball postponed its opening day by at least two weeks. With no live sports on the schedule, ESPN will be adding Disney athletic-themed films to the Friday night schedule.
The change in programming began on March 27 when The Rookie aired. This decision timed up with what should have been opening week. With no baseball games on the schedule, ESPN cued up the film in which Dennis Quaid played the oldest rookie in Major League Baseball. The next film on the schedule is Glory Road, which will air on April 3 at 8:30 p.m. ET and will line up with the planned Final Four weekend.
Josh Lucas stars as future Hall of Fame coach Don Haskins of tiny Texas Western University, who bucks convention by simply starting the best players he can find: history’s first all-African American lineup. In a turbulent time of social and political change, their unlikely success sends shock waves through the sport that follow the underdog Miners all the way to an epic showdown!
The Friday night Disney movie schedule will continue with at least four other planned films. Miracle and Invincible are next on the schedule and will at a soon to be determined time. Secretariat and The Greatest Game Ever Played will round out the planned schedule.
There were some fans happy about the addition to the schedule and the opportunity to see these sports films once again. Others, however, were critical of the decision. They wanted to know why ESPN was airing Mark Wahlberg and Kurt Russell movies instead of simply releasing the Michael Jordan documentary.
Known as The Last Dance, the 10-part documentary series will follow Jordan's final season with the Chicago Bulls (1997-98). The current plan is for ESPN to release the documentary series in June, but the fans are hoping that it will surface earlier than expected.
"ESPN would rather show old a– Disney movies instead of just showing the Bulls/MJ documentary," one fan wrote on Twitter. Another commented that the coronavirus has really messed up the world of sports if ESPN is opting for Disney movies.
With no live sports on the schedule, ESPN has been working to fill the weekend schedule. This has included airing previous WrestleMania events on Sunday nights. WrestleMania 36 is scheduled for April 4 and 5, and the previous bouts will be used to build anticipation among wrestling fans.
Photo Credit: Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images