What started on TV as two men sharing a wine bath has quickly evolved into one of ESPN’s most interesting and unique multiplatform franchises, and thanks to a new contract it will be keeping sports fans entertained into the future.
Sam Alipour, a senior correspondent and host of “Hang Time,” has signed a multiyear deal to remain with ESPN, and his brand of storytelling with some of the biggest figures in sports will continue to appear on SportsCenter, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine and other platforms.
“Sam has the ability to create unique content by putting interesting people into settings that are out of the ordinary,” said ESPN Vice President, Content Strategy, SportsCenter and News, Michael Shiffman.. “The resulting pieces not only make fans smile but also help them learn things about athletes he’s hanging with. Sam’s content appeals to a wide variety of sports fans and helps contribute to audience growth across ESPN platforms.”
Alipour’s latest “Hang Time” was with Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green eating sushi and walking the streets of Tokyo, while he also has climbed to the famous “Hollywood” sign with Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff, swam with sharks in the Bahamas with New England Patriots tight Rob Gronkowski and more.
“One great perk of ‘Hang Time,’ if I may go the selfish route, is I get to travel the world and do exciting and sometimes scary things that push me to my limits,” Alipour said.
“But in doing so I get to see athletes in a natural environment,” he said. “I get to tell unique stories about really interesting people in settings that you don’t normally get to see them in. And what that does is peel the layers back for you.”
And about that wine bath?
“Hang Time,” which appeared in The Magazine in the 2000s as a short recurring column, ostensibly debuted in its current form in early 2015 when SportsCenter aired a feature with Alipour and the NBA’s Amar’e Stoudemire experiencing a session of vineotherapy.
“That became quite a thing and will probably end up on my tombstone as my epitaph, for better or for worse,” Alipour said. “But he took a big leap of faith with me and suddenly we realized we have something here – a franchise with serious potential.”
Read The San Jose Mercury News’ report on Alipour’s new ESPN deal.
Watch the ESPN.com version of Alipour’s “Hang Time” features with Gurley in the video below.