Marvel-ESPN: Disney’s New Dream Team?

College Football Championship, ‘1 of 1’ latest examples of corporate team-up
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What do Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and Iron Man have in common? Both will be on display Monday night during ESPN’s airing of the College Football National Championship.

As ESPN looks to knock off its own 11-day-old cable TV record, the Worldwide Leader could get an assist from Earth’s Mightiest Heroes as a new trailer for the hotly anticipated Avengers sequel Age of Ultron is set to exclusively debut during the game — for those not watching one of the many companion viewing options.

The Avengers plug is just the latest in what is becoming a growing a push from Disney to team up two of its biggest entertainment brands.

Last week during the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour, ESPN announced two 1 of 1 documentary projects that it will do in conjunction with Marvel Entertainment: Genesis, a feature-length film that will attempt to connect Marvel’s gallery of super-powered individuals with the biggest athletes on the playing field; and Origins, a series of shorts focusing on individual athletes told in the vein of “origin stories” that are frequently used in comic book lore.

Going back even further, in December Marvel created eight special covers to help promote Monday’s College Football title game. The eight covers featured well-known Marvel superheroes Captain America, Iron Man and The Hulk set against a blank background, with the word “IN” appearing in the top left of the page.

Previous collaborations between the two have also included the re-imagining of NBA stars (for which ESPN is also a rights holder) as Marvel superheroes and a LeBron James comic book.

Disney has used Marvel to prop its other entertainment assets as well. Last week, ABC premiered Agent Carter, its second TV series from the comic book-based studio (taking the place of its other Marvel TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), which itself featured a trailer for Marvel’s other big screen film this year, Ant-Man.

For Disney, it’s All in the (Corporate) Family.

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