Long Gone Summer,
a film that details the 1998 home run race between Sammy Sosa (L) and Mark McGwire (R), will air at 9 p.m. EDT June 14 on ESPN. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
May 6 (UPI) -- ESPN has moved up air dates for several documentaries, including films that detail Lance Armstrong, Bruce Lee and Mark McGwire's 1998 home run race against Sammy Sosa.
The network announced the move Tuesday, which follows what's been ESPN's highly successful 10-part series The Last Dance about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. The series has averaged 5.8 million viewers through its first six episodes, 62 percent more than ESPN's previously highest-viewed documentary You Don't Know Bo (2012).
ESPN said it's changing the broadcast schedule due to the lack of live sports during the coronavirus pandemic. The network did the same thing for The Last Dance, which was originally scheduled to premiere in June.
ESPN will now air Lance, Be Water and Long Gone Summer in late May and mid-June, immediately after the final two episodes of The Last Dance. All of the films will air at 9 p.m. EDT on their respective dates.
Lance and Be Water both debuted earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival. Lance features unprecedented access to Armstrong through the rise and fall of his career as a cyclist. The two-part film -- directed by Marina Zenovich -- will air May 24 and May 31.
Director Bao Nguyen's Be Water, a personal look at the life of Bruce Lee, will debut June 7.
Long Gone Summer includes interviews with both McGwire and Sosa, as the sluggers discuss the 1998 summer at length for the first time. AJ Schnack's film will air June 14.
"It's a great feeling to bring three more epic documentary projects to sports fans who so need it right now," said Libby Geist, vice president and executive producer for ESPN Films and Original Content. "Moving up these films is no easy task, but it's absolutely worth the effort to get them on the air for audiences to experience together."
"It's a mix of fascinating topics, compelling characters and some of the absolute best storytelling our team has cranked out. The whole ESPN Films team is working hard to entertain fans while we wait for live sports to return and give them a distraction while we go through these hard times."
Episodes 7 and 8 of The Last Dance will air at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. EDT on Sunday and the final two episodes a week later on May 17.