Companies to produce six original longform episodes that follow participants of the second annual NFL Alumni Academy at the Hall of Fame Village powered by Johnson Controls
Team Whistle, the global sports and entertainment media company today announced a partnership with WaV Sports, a global sports marketing firm and Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Company (NASDAQ: HOFV, HOFVW) to launch a football-themed docuseries, “The Academy”. “The Academy” will be a six-episode longform docuseries that will follow athletes participating in the second season of the NFL Alumni Academy, the first-ever in-season NFL player replacement and training program for aspiring NFL players at the Hall of Fame Village powered by Johnson Controls.
“The Academy”, which is currently being filmed and intended to be released in early 2022, will offer sports fans a behind-the-scenes look into the training techniques, strength programs, and the mental toughness required of these participants as they fight to make their pro football dreams a reality. The companies are currently in discussions regarding a distribution partner. In addition to the docuseries, Whistle Studios will develop corresponding short-form videos from the NFL Alumni Academy that it will post on its social media platforms, which collectively reach more than 629 million people.
“Whistle Studios is focused on telling relatable and inspiring sports stories that show the triumph of the human spirit through struggle, perseverance, and growth,” said Mike Basone, Head of Unscripted at Whistle Studios. “The journey the athletes of the NFL Alumni Academy undergo to become NFL ready is arduous with moments of both conflict and elation. We are excited to be partnering with the Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Company as well as WaV Sports to tell these important untold stories.”
“The popularity of series like Hard Knocks and Last Chance U has confirmed that people crave original content centered on the game of football,” said Michael Crawford, President and CEO of Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Company. “We are seeking to replicate this playbook with ‘The Academy’ by allowing fans to see first-hand how hard these athletes train and how much they sacrifice in order to make it to the next level. We believe the program gives the talent currently participating in the program opportunities to have their own ‘Rudy moments,’ where through hard work and determination, they can achieve their dreams of playing in the NFL.”
“WaV Sports & Entertainment is excited to be partnering with like-minded companies like Whistle Studios and Hall of Fame Report & Entertainment Company to produce this inspiring docuseries that tells the stories of young men who are putting everything on the line to achieve their dreams of an NFL career,” said Brian Klaasmeyer, CEO of WaV Media. “An incredible staff of coaches has been assembled to hone the skills of these athletes. It’s going to be a must see.”
“There isn’t anything else like this happening in pro football today,” shared Dean Dalton, Executive Director of the NFL Alumni Academy & CEO of WaV Management. “The Academy is a unique opportunity for some of the most promising up and coming athletes in football to be trained in an environment like no other by some of the best to ever coach or play the game. And then to additionally be able to share these stories with the world makes it even more special.”
“The Academy” will be Executive Produced by Mike Basone and Melanie Capacia Johnson from Whistle Studios, Olivia Steier from Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Company and Dean Dalton and Brian Klaasmeyer from WaV Sports & Entertainment.
The NFL Alumni Academy was hailed by CBS Sports’ NFL Insider Jason La Canfora as “deserving of more attention” for the model it utilizes to prepare its participants for the next level, focusing on improving the strength and conditioning, techniques and knowledge of the game with the goal of preparing players’ bodies and minds for lengthy careers in the NFL. Participants of the program train alongside and receive hands-on coaching from some of the top minds in professional football. This year’s roster of coaches includes former Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Mike Tice, Hall of Fame Offensive Lineman Anthony Munoz, as well as NFL veterans Steve Smith, Jay Hayes, Chuck Smith, Moe Williams, David Walker and Ted Cottrell while the legendary Chip Smith serves as Performance Coach.
About Whistle Studios
Whistle Studios is an Emmy winning, globally distributed, production company built from a foundation of companies that includes Whistle, New Form, Tiny Horse, and Vertical Networks. Whistle Studios tells unforgettable stories and produces the highest quality original series in a variety of formats including scripted, unscripted and interactive. Most recently, they won an Emmy for a non-fiction reality series for ‘Prideland’ on PBS which follows queer ‘Pose’ actor, Dyllón Burnside, as he explores LGBTQ discovery across the South. Their ‘Benedict Men’ docu-series from Executive Producer and basketball superstar Stephen Curry, and Emmy-award winning Documentarian Jonathan Hock, which started on Quibi and is now on Roku, was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. The studio has an upcoming series ‘Legacy’ with NBA Icon, Dwayne Wade, airing on Discovery+ which follows the progeny of top pro athletes who are trying to make a name for themselves — including Wade’s son, Zaire Wade, as he navigates his senior year of high school as an NCAA Division I basketball prospect. We have a slate of new shows in development and pre-production with celebrities across entertainment and sports - including Oscar winning actress Genna Davis, NBA superstar Carmelo Anthony, actor Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta, Godzilla.) They produce series and provide production services for partners like YouTube Premium, The Olympic Channel, TruTV, HBO Max, MGM/Orion, Facebook Watch, Adult Swim, NBC Sports, CW, Nickelodeon, TBS, Tubi, Discovery, Magnolia Networks and Snap Originals among many others. Learn more at teamwhistle.com/studio. Whistle Studios serves as the production arm of Team Whistle, a sports and entertainment media company that sees 4 billion cross-platform video views each month.
About the Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Company
The Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Company (NASDAQ: HOFV, HOFVW) is a resort and entertainment company leveraging the power and popularity of professional football and its legendary players in partnership with the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Headquartered in Canton, Ohio, the Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Company is the owner of the Hall of Fame Village powered by Johnson Controls, a multi-use sports, entertainment and media destination centered around the Pro Football Hall of Fame's campus. Additional information on the Company can be found at www.HOFREco.com.
About WaV Sports and Entertainment LLC
WaV Sports & Entertainment is a global sports marketing firm that specializes in sports property representation, brand side representation, and the management and production of unique sporting and entertainment events. WaV exclusively represents, manages and operates the NFL Alumni Academy and various other NFL Alumni initiatives such as their youth educational programming known as the Pro Day Experience. Additional information on the Company can be found at www.WaVsports.com.
About the NFL Alumni Association
The NFL Alumni Association is a nationwide organization of former National Football League players, coaches and other employees whose mission is to serve, assist and inform former players and their families. The association offers a variety of medical, financial and social programs to help members lead healthy, productive and connected lives, as well as community initiatives under the NFL Alumni’s “Caring for Kids” programs. The NFL Alumni Association hosts the NFL Alumni Academy Player Development Program each football season at the Hall of Fame Village powered by Johnson Controls in Canton, Ohio.
About the NFL Alumni Academy
The NFL Alumni Academy provides a pathway for the top-graded free agent players that were released from NFL training camps to return to the NFL by giving them the opportunity to further develop their skills and realize their potential by training under the tutelage of elite former NFL coaches, players and performance coaches. The Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium at the Hall of Fame Village powered by Johnson Controls will initially serve as the NFL Alumni Academy’s headquarters and training facility. The Academy will then move to the Center for Performance, which will be located on the Village’s campus and is anticipated to be completed in 2022. The Center for Performance will feature an 80,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art indoor field house and training facility, among other amenities.
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