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Mark Souther Discusses Ups & Downs of Cleveland Sports in ESPN’s Believeland

CSU history professor is prominently featured in next 30 for 30 episode, airing May 14

Mark Souther, associate professor of history at Cleveland State University, is playing a significant role in a prominent new documentary focused on the city of Cleveland and its less than stellar recent sporting history. Believeland, which chronicles Cleveland’s failure to win a major team championship for the last 52 years as well as the continued faith of its fans that “next year” will finally come, is the next film in ESPN’s acclaimed 30 for 30 documentary series. It had its premier March 31 as the 40th Anniversary Signature Event for the Cleveland International Film Festival and will debut nationally May 14.

Souther, an expert in Cleveland history, was interviewed for the film and provided additional historical context and background that assisted the filmmakers in shaping the narrative. In particular, Souther discussed the events that unfolded in Cleveland from the mid-20th century when the city was near its peak through the challenges that beset the community, and its sports teams, in the 1960s and 1970s.

“Cleveland has been through some tough times and that has had a significant impact on the psyche of the community, and I think the often unconditional love for area sports teams has been a way to escape that reality, which of course makes the futility we have experienced that much harder to take,” said Souther. “I was very honored to make a contribution to Believeland and hope it provides insights into our community and why we still believe, both in our teams and in our city as a whole.”

The film will be screened several additional times during the Cleveland International Film Festival, including April 2 at 11:35 am, April 3 at 10:15 am, April 04 at 7:30 pm and April 05 at 6:30 pm. For more information on tickets visit