ESPN Films Nabs Lacrosse Doc ‘Fate of a Sport’ From Tribeca (EXCLUSIVE)

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ESPN Films has acquired worldwide rights to the documentary “Fate of a Sport,” Variety has learned exclusively.

The deal was struck ahead of the film’s world premiere on Wednesday at the annual Tribeca Film Festival. Directed by Michael Doneger and written by Dan Crane, the expansive sports story was produced by Matt Tolmach (of the “Jumanji” and “Venom” franchises) and Doneger.

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“Fate” follows trailblazing athlete Paul Rabil, who spent 11 years as one of the most dominant and controversial players in a professional lacrosse league that filmmakers described as “anything but professional.” Rabil and his brother Mike took matters into their own hands, documenting their journey raising capital, attempting to poach top players, fight off lawsuits and persevere through a global pandemic to launch the Premier Lacrosse League. Adding to the drama, Rabil must navigate the politics of playing in a league that he also runs.

The doc features interviews with entertainment and media players, including actor Jeffrey Wright, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group CEO Tom Rothman (all played lacrosse in school). Also included is Joe Tsai, the new league’s largest investor and co-founder of Alibaba, as well as ESPN analyst Paul Carcaterra.

The Rabil brothers executive produced the film alongside Uninterrupted’s LeBron James, Maverick Carter, Jamal Henderson and Philip Byron, with co-executive producer Camille Maratchi. CAA Media Finance brokered the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.

“I think they saw pro athletes in a league with a battered reputation, being underpaid and unhappy, who decided to take things into our own hands,” Rabil previously told Variety of James and Carter’s involvement. “To break away from the establishment and take ownership in the new league … that felt special.”

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