The Best Sports Documentary Series

Updated May 25, 2021 0 votes 109 voters 4.7k views51 items

List RulesVote up the best documentary shows about sports that have aired on television.

The best documentaries about sports can be fascinating even for viewers who aren't sports fans. The best sports documentary series ever shown on television range from biographies of athletes to the history of a sport. If you’ve been looking for the best sports documentaries to add some fun to your TV nights, this list of the best sports documentary series of all time will help you figure out what needs to go into your queue.

ESPN has several sports documentary shows, including 30 For 30 and Nine For IX, two series of documentary films that take in-depth looks at important people and events in the sports world and in sports history. Many sports documentaries are blends of traditional documentary series and investigative or interview shows, profiling athletes and teams that have made their mark in sports history. From American football to soccer and cricket, and even bull-riding, there are documentaries following just about every sport out there.

Which shows do the best job sharing the stories of sports? Vote up the best sports documentary shows and add any documentary series about sports and athletes that are missing.

  • 1

    The Last Dance

    Michael Jordan, Phil Jackson


    The Last Dance (ESPN, 2020) is an American sports documentary miniseries directed by Jason Hehir. Focusing on the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls, the docuseries follows Michael Jordan's career and his final...  more
  • 2
    Formula 1: Drive to Survive (Netflix, 2019) is a documentary television series produced in collaboration between Netflix and Formula One to give an exclusive behind the scenes look at the 2018...  more
  • 3

    30 for 30

    Dan Rather, Magic Johnson

    PremieredOctober 6, 2009

    30 for 30 is the umbrella title for a series of documentary films airing on ESPN and its sister networks and online properties. The series highlights important people and events in the sports world...  more
  • 4

    Last Chance U

    John Beam, Jason Brown

    PremieredJuly 29, 2016

    Last Chance U is a 2016 documentary series produced by Netflix showcasing the 2015 American football season for East Mississippi Community College as they attempted to win their third consecutive...  more

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  • 5


    Monica Aldama

    PremieredJanuary 8, 2020

    Cheer (Netflix, 2020) is an American documentary-reality television series. The series follows a competitive cheerleading team from Corsicana, Texas during a season....  more

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  • 6

    Sunderland 'Til I Die

    Martin Bain, Nick Barnes


    Sunderland 'Til I Die (Netflix, 2018) is a sports documentary series. The show documents the events around English football club Sunderland A.F.C. during their 2017–18 season which saw them relegated from the EFL Championship.

    Sunderland ‘Til I Die (Netflix, 2018) is a sports documentary television series executive produced by Leo Pearlman and Ben Turner. The series highlights the unfailing passion Sunderland residents...  more
  • 7

    Hard Knocks

    Zach Thomas, Darren Woodson

    PremieredAugust 1, 2001

    Hard Knocks is a reality sports documentary television series produced by NFL Films and HBO. The show was first broadcast in 2001, and the current 2014 season is the ninth. Each season, it follows a...  more


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  • 8

    30 for 30 Shorts

    30 for 30 Shorts (ESPN, 2012) is an American sports documentary web series. These shorter episodes highlighting interesting people and events in sports history were originally featured on the 30 for...  more
  • 9

    A Football Life

    A Football Life is a documentary series developed by NFL Films and aired on NFL Network that documents the lives of select National Football League players, coaches, owners, and teams. Friends,...  more
  • 10

    All or Nothing

    Michael Bidwill, Steve Keim

    PremieredJuly 1, 2016

    All or Nothing (Amazon Video, 2016) is a sports documentary series. An unprecedented inside look at the lives of players, coaches, and owners of a franchise over the course of an entire NFL season....  more
  • 11

    Nine for IX

    Nine for IX is the title for a series of documentary films airing on ESPN, celebrating the 40th anniversary of Title IX. The documentaries are being produced by ESPN Films in conjunction with espnW,...  more
  • 12

    First Team: Juventus

    Gianluigi Buffon, Federico Bernardeschi
    First Team: Juventus (Netflix, 2018) is an American and Italian six-part docu-series about the Italian association football club Juventus F.C....  more
  • 13
    E:60 (ESPN, 2007) is an American sports newsmagazine and sports news documentary television series. The show features investigative journalism, focusing upon news, issues, and other stories in...  more
  • 14

    Future Phenoms

    Pat Summerall


    Future Phenoms is a nationally syndicated sports television show about high school athletics. The show, which is hosted by legendary broadcaster Pat Summerall, takes its viewers across the country in...  more
  • 15

    60 Minutes Sports

    The first name in news magazines is now the last word in sports. The award-winning team behind 60 MINUTES turns its investigative eye towards the world of sports. From in-depth reporting to the most...  more
  • 16

    Warriors of Liberty City

    Luther Campbell


  • 17

    Religion of Sports

    Gotham Chopra, Teo Hunter


  • 18


    Iván Fernández, David Fernández Gené


    Losers (Netflix, 2019) is an American sports documentary television series. This show profiles athletes who have turned the agony of defeat into human triumph....  more
  • 19


    John Chancellor


    Baseball is an 18½ hour, Emmy Award-winning documentary series by Ken Burns about the game of baseball. First broadcast on PBS, this was Burns' ninth documentary and won the 1995 Primetime Emmy Award...  more
  • 20

    American Dream Derby

    American Dream Derby is an American horse racing-themed reality show that aired on GSN. Eight one-hour episodes were produced, with the first two airing on January 10, 2005; the show then aired...  more
  • 21

    PremieredSeptember 29, 2006

    Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team (CMT, 2006) is an American reality television series. The series follows the auditioning process and the making of the annual Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders...  more

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  • 22

    Human Weapon

    Bill Duff, Jason Chambers


    Human Weapon was a television show on The History Channel that premiered on July 20, 2007. The hosts, Jason Chambers and Bill Duff, traveled across the world studying the unique martial arts, or...  more
  • 23

    The Real Football Factories

    Danny Dyer


    The Real Football Factories is a documentary series shown on the Bravo TV channel in the UK and created by Zig Zag Productions. The show looks at the in-depth life of football hooligans and hooligan...  more
  • 24


    Rush Propst


    Two-A-Days is a show on the United States cable television channel MTV. The show chronicled the lives of teens at Hoover High School in Hoover, Alabama, a suburb of nearby Birmingham. It focused on...  more
  • 25

    The Contender

    Sugar Ray Leonard, Sergio Mora

    PremieredApril 5, 2018

    The Contender is a reality television series that follows a group of boxers as they compete with one another in an elimination-style competition, while their lives and relationships with each other...  more