A remake of the 2018 Spanish movie ‘Campeones’ by Javier Fesser and David Marqués, ‘Champions’ is a sports comedy movie helmed by Bobby Farrelly that follows Marcus, a moody minor-league basketball coach who aspires to become a coach for an NBA team. However, he finds himself in legal trouble when he loses his cool after a match. As a result, Marcus is ordered by the court to manage and coach a team of players with intellectual disabilities.
What starts as a hopeless cause turns into something unfathomable when Marcus realizes that this united team has the chance to book a spot in the Special Olympics. The comedy-drama movie features stellar onscreen performances from actors like Woody Harrelson, Kaitlin Olson, Ernie Hudson, and Cheech Marin. Moreover, while the intriguing and motivational narrative about basketball keeps the viewers hooked, the use of some interesting locations, such as the basketball courts, makes one wonder where ‘Champions’ was shot. If you are one such interested soul, we have got you covered!
Champions Filming Locations
‘Champions’ was filmed entirely in Manitoba, particularly in Winnipeg and Selkirk. As per reports, the principal photography for the sports movie commenced in November 2021 and wrapped up in a month or so in December of the same year. So, do you wish to discover the specific sites where all the drama surrounding basketball occurs onscreen? Well, get ready to have your curiosities put to bed!
Most of ‘Champions’ was lensed in and around Winnipeg. During the shooting schedule, the cast and crew members were spotted at various sites across Manitoba’s capital, including the Manitoba Legislative Building at 450 Broadway, seemingly the Canada Life Centre at 300 Portage Avenue, RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg at 375 York Avenue near Carlton and St. Mary Avenue, Duckworth Centre at 400 Spence Street, and Robert A. Steen Community Centre at 980 Palmerston Avenue. You might also spot some glimpses of Winnipeg’s West Alexander neighborhood in several scenes.
During a conversation with Collider in March 2023, Cheech Marin, who portrays Julio in the movie, was asked to reveal something interesting about the making of the sports movie. He added, “Well, we endured the cold. It was freezing there. We shot it in Winnipeg, and it was just so cold. (And) that with non-professional actors, they could really rise to the occasion. It was amazing. It was amazing. You know, they weren’t doing Shakespeare or Hamlet, but they were non-professional actors. You know, that was like asking somebody to be really good in figure skating when they’ve never put on a pair of figure skates before.”
The production team of ‘Champions’ seemingly made a well-informed decision to shoot the movie in Winnipeg because the city has had connections with many professional basketball teams. One of the more recent examples is that of the Winnipeg Goldeyes. This team plays at Shaw Park and had seen the highest average attendance in the Northern League for a decade in the 2000s, with more than 300,000 annual fan visits. At present, the Winnipeg Sea Bears play in the Canadian Elite Basketball League, with Canada Life Centre being their home venue.
Located just 14 miles northeast of Winnipeg, Selkirk was another prominent taping location in Manitoba for ‘Champions.’ Although the city has more links to hockey, the filming unit supposedly decided to shoot some key portions there mainly due to the proximity from the primary production site, i.e., Winnipeg. Selkirk has hosted several prominent sporting events, such as a few games of the 2007 Women’s World Ice Hockey Championships and the Telus Cup. So, it makes for a suitable recording spot for a sports movie like ‘Champions.’
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