Sports Emmy Documentary FAQ
• A film is eligible if you haven’t submitted to another Emmy competition.
• The film must have aired on a US television network, digital or streaming platform or VOD between January 1st, 2023 through December 31st 2023.
That’s okay! Productions that have had a limited theatrical release before being telecast or made available by digital distribution are eligible. This means that the aggregate number of commercial theatrical screenings did not exceed 600 theaters. A program loses Emmy eligibility 24 months after its first theatrical screening of any kind — commercial or film festival.
If a film is nominated for an Oscar, it is ineligible in the Sports Emmys.
If your film has US financing and had a global debut or aired within a week of an international premiere, you are eligible to submit to the Sports Emmys. You can not submit to both the Sports Emmys and the International Emmys.
The submission site can be accessed here.
• Short Documentaries must run between 20 to 40 minutes. You would upload the entire film as your submission.
• Long Documentaries run between 40 and 120 minutes, and it should be submitted in its entirety. If longer than 120 minutes, a submission must be edited to conform to the time limit.
Feature length documentaries do not get submitted in “feature categories.” In the Sports Emmy lexicon, features are shorts.
You have 2 options:
• Outstanding Documentary Series - Serialized is for doc series that follow the same cast of characters throughout the series run and is shot in follow-doc or verite style.
• Outstanding Documentary Series is for a single topic, multiple episode series or an anthologized series.
If content encompasses two different calendar years, the eligibility year is the year with the most episodes scheduled. If the same number of episodes aired in both years, the eligibility year is the year in which the finale aired.
If a serialized documentary chronicles the current football postseason, please reach out to Sports administration to confirm eligibility.
• No, your submission reel must contain at least 2 excerpts and no more than 5, from at least 2 different episodes.
• Make sure your excerpt log on the submission site matches the video and indicates air date and content of each excerpt.
No. Pick a lane and stick to it. You are either a series OR a long or short documentary.
• Your submission reel must be a single video file. If you are submitting a series entry, all of the required excerpts must be edited together into a single video file.
• Identifying information like air date, debut network, production company and runtime. An excerpt log that matches the video uploaded, a credit list, credit documentation and an essay.
• You will also need to indicate 30 seconds from your film that will serve as the ceremony clip in the event of a nomination. Do not submit the ceremony clip as a video excerpt or additional file, just indicate where to find it on your single video file submission. For more information about the ceremony clip requirement, consult the rulebook (Call for Entries).
• DO NOT submit the trailer for your documentary.
• If you publish a credit package, please submit the final credit package as your credit documention when requested during the submission process. This will be used for verification of statue eligibility.
• For entries that require excerpts from multiple episodes, you enter a short description of each excerpt that appears on your entry reel, along with the air date and run time of each excerpt as part of your submission.
• If you are entering your entire film, only indicate the film as a single excerpt on your excerpt log.
Nope. Only certain titles are statue-eligible in each category. Statue-eligibility is based on hand’s on production contributions. Please refer to the statue eligible titles appendix in the Call for Entries for permitted titles in each category.
Yes! Often documentarians submit to various craft categories like Outstanding Long Form Editing, Outstanding Long Form Writing and others. A list of all categories is available in the Call for Entries.
• Monday, January 29th, 2024 6pm Eastern.
• Additional categories like the crafts have a deadline of Thursday, February 15th, 2024 6pm Eastern.
• $425 for a documentary category
• $300 for crafts
There is no rule as to who must submit but if you aired on a network or platform, coordinate with that entity to make sure you are on the same page and not duplicating each other’s work.
• Documentaries are judged in two rounds by a panel of volunteer peer judges. To be selected for a documentary panel, judges must have worked in documentary and list credits on their application.
• Submissions are judged online and the process is confidential. Judges must watch at least 50%of each first round submission on their ballot. The highest scoring submissions from this round move to the final round, where judges are required to watch 75% of each finalist.
• Filmmakers are not permitted to judge their own content and if they are placed on a panel with a submission they worked on, that content will be removed from their ballot. Scores are directly transmitted to an accounting firm and Sports Administration has no access to judging results.
• Nominees and winners are determined at the same time by the judging in the final round. There is no short listing of submissions nor an opportunity for FYC campaigns.
If you are interested in judging, please contact Sports@TheEmmys.tv.
• The last five winners in Long Documentary have been Netflix’s The Redeem Team, The Alpinist and Rising Phoenix, HBO’s What’s My Name Muhammad Ali p1 and Momentum Generation.
• For Short Documentary, HBO's 38 At The Garden, Mark Pattison’s Search for the Summit from NFL Network, and ESPN’s BlackFeet Boxing, Hilinki’s Hope and Identity: Deland McCullogh’s Journey were recent winners.
• For Documentary Series-Serialized, Netflix’s Race: Bubba Wallace, Formula 1: Drive to Survive and Last Chance U, Showtime’s Outcry and Tom v. Time from Facebook Watch took home the Emmy.
• For Documentary Series, Legacy: The True Story of the LA Lakers on Hulu was awarded in 2023, while ESPN+’s Man in the Arena: Tom Brady won in the category’s first year.
• Nominations come out in mid April on the Emmy website and social media.
• Winners are revealed at our in-person ceremony May 21st, 2024 at Jazz at Lincoln Center. All nominees must purchase a ticket to attend.