By Sahil Patel
Several people involved in the “The Million Dollar Arm” contest and reality show (and most recently, a Jon Hamm-starring Disney movie) are launching a new multi-platform production company called Aspire Entertainment.
Co-founders of the company include Mark Ciardi, producer on inspirational sports movies like “Million Dollar Arm,” “Secretariat,” “Invincible,” “Miracle,” and “The Rookie”; William Chang and Ash Vasudevan, venture capitalists at Edge Venture Capital and co-creators of “The Million Dollar Arm” contest; and former Google/YouTube executive Tom Duterme.
The goal of Aspire is to create aspirational stories about characters who overcome adversity. Projects will span scripted and unscripted formats for a “multitude of distribution platforms,” while maintaining a strong focus on producing feature films, the company said.
The trio at the heart of the company — Ciardi, Chang, and Vasudevan — came together on the set of the “Million Dollar Arm” movie, which retold the story of how two Indian cricket players won a reality contestant and a shot at playing professional baseball in the US. Chang and Vasudevan were portrayed in the movie.
Within Aspire, Ciardi will contribute his knowledge of Hollywood, Chang and Vasudevan will provide expertise on the intersection of tech, media and entertainment, and venture capital, and Duterme — the company’s most recent member — will provide insights on new distribution platforms. All are co-founders of Aspire, with Ciardi also serving as its president and CEO.
“Content and its delivery are changing by the day. Audiences receive entertainment when and how they want it and the landscape is still evolving and expanding exponentially. People are still hungry for stories that inspire and move them, no matter if they enjoy them in a movie theater or on their phones. Aspire’s goal is to find and produce those stories for a global audience,” said Ciardi in a statement.