Disney, Pixar, ESPN and NFL are taking Sunday football “to infinity and beyond” next month. The brands are partnering to bring Toy Story Funday Football to the NFL on Sunday, October 1 in the Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars Week 4 matchup. Live from London, the first-of-its-kind NFL game will be a Toy Story version streamed in real-time and fully animated from Andy’s Room in a virtual recreation of the game.
Subscribers to Disney+ and ESPN+ will have a front-row seat to watch Buzz Lightyear, Woody and friends make passes, run the field, tackle opponents, and score touchdowns. The traditional NFL game will be broadcast live on ESPN+ and on mobile devices via NFL+. For a limited time, the replay of Toy Story Funday Football will be available on Disney+ and ESPN+ shortly after the conclusion of the game. The exclusive streaming presentation of the NFL game is one of the elements of ESPN’s new rights agreement with the NFL.
“Andy’s room will replicate the on-the-field gameplay from Wembley Stadium, where each Falcon and Jaguar player will have animated representation on a traditional-looking field, catered to the ‘Toy Story’ setting. Fans will view every run, pass, score and all football-related action through state-of-the-art tracking technology enabled by the NFL’s Next Gen Stats player tracking data and Beyond Sports,” said ESPN in a press release.
The Falcons-versus-Jaguars game and alternate telecast kicks off at 9:30 a.m. Eastern on October 1, earlier than normal because it is part of NFL’s series of international games. The game will come to fans live from Wembley Stadium in London.
In addition to the game, other game day features will be Toy Story themed, including the announcers, graphics, scoreboard, penalty announcements, and celebrations – all from the fictitious world of Andy’s Room. The innovative offering is made possible by an all-star team that includes ESPN, ESPN’s Edge Innovation Center, Disney, NFL, Pixar, Next Gen Stats, Beyond Sports and Silver Spoon.
Toy Story Funday Football features
The Toy Story version of the Falcons vs. Jaguars game will feature the following:
- The game’s announcers include Drew Carter for the play-by-play, Booger McFarland as the analyst and 12-year-old Pepper Persley as commentator. All three will be fully animated and their body movements will be viewed through motion-capture technology.
- Iconic “Toy Story” Characters appearing in Toy Story Funday Football include Buzz, Woody, Bo Peep, Bullseye, Bunny, Ducky, Forky, Green Aliens, Jesse, Rex and Slinky Dog.
- In a special halftime Show, daredevil Duke Caboom will attempt a motorcycle jump.
- Viewers of Toy Story Funday Football will have an opportunity to learn the game through demonstrations, ‘how to’ videos, trivia, and more.
- The real-life Falcons and Jaguar players will also contribute through pre-recorded segments and interviews.
Whether you are a football fan or a Toy Story fan – or both – this looks like it will be quite a creative, innovative matchup with options for the whole family. Diehard NFL fans can catch the game streamed live on ESPN+ or NFL+, and Toy Story fans can watch it on Disney+ or ESPN+. Subscriptions are required to watch it on any of three streaming channels – Disney+, ESPN+ and NFL+ – making this an exclusive offering available only to subscribers. This may help the streaming services attract new subscribers, even if only for a free trial, or get existing subscribers to subscribe to Disney’s trio bundle which includes Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu.
With the NFL making agreements with YouTube (Sunday Ticket) and Amazon (Thursday Night Football) this year, broadcast channels and streaming services are fighting over the rights to different games. This unique Toy Story-themed game offers something those companies can’t, a differentiating factor as viewers decide where to put their subscription dollars. Assuming the technology goes smoothly, this game could be a big boon for all parties. Are you ready for some football?
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