Hey, Toy Story 5, wait a minute. This Sunday, October 1, ESPN, The Walt Disney Company and the NFL have collaborated on digital magic in Andy’s room when the Atlanta Falcons versus the Jacksonville Jaguars game in London takes over streaming platforms on Disney+ and ESPN+ and also NFL+ on mobile. The animated, real-time, NFL UK alternate presentation begins at 9:30 a.m. ET. When I showed the Pixar trailer to the 6-year-old (Jake) and his 10-years old brother (Kellan) next to me, they went bonkers with joy since both, like me, are loyal fans of the NFL and Toy Story, originally launched on November 22, 1995. The Sports Techie community blog is thrilled to share this virtual re-creation story with our international readers and followers knowing many of you also love to say Buzz Lightyear’s famous words, “To Infinity and Beyond!” Woody, Jessie, Rex, Gabby, Forky, Bo Peep, Alien and the rest of the beloved Toy Story Universe characters will simulate every run, pass and kick performed by actual players such as Falcons’ star rookie RB Bijan Robinson, and 2-time Pro Bowl DE, Grady Jarrett, as well as Jags star QB Trevor Lawrence, in real-time animation with the aid of the NFL’s Next Gen Stats player tracking data provided by Zebra Technologies RFID chips. NFL fans can also look forward the Toy Story Fun Day special halftime show featuring a one-of-a-kind, Duke Caboom motorcycle jump. Wembley Stadium, one of the planet’s premier sports stadiums and the host of NFL International Series game will be recreated simultaneously in iconic Andy’s room. This presentation is the latest in ESPN’s innovation strategy, providing alternate telecasts in signature events. Read more about other ESPN sports technology enhanced broadcasts like the AI powered NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship by Genius Sports, and ShotTracker added to Big 12 Conference games. Disney Plus used Astroskin to enhance Limitless with Chris Hemsworth. NFL sports tech adds another digital notch to their virtual belt via Toy Story Fun Day.
“There are many great Disney IP options but the fit of ‘Toy Story’ was ideal,” Tim Reed, ESPN’s vice president of NFL programming, told Front Office Sports. “The movies’ multi-generational appeal and iconic characters, plus the Pixar brand equity, was a great combination for us to lean into.”
“To Infinity and Beyond!” ESPN, The Walt Disney Company, and the NFL are Bringing Fans a First-of-its-Kind, Fully-Animated Alternate NFL Game Presentation of the Falcons and Jaguars in Pixar’s Iconic “Toy Story” Universe
- Toy Story Funday Football, a Real-Time Alternate Presentation, Streams Sunday Morning, October 1, at 9:30 a.m. ET on Disney+ and ESPN+
- The NFL’s Next Gen Stats Player Tracking Data Enables a Virtual Re-creation of the Game, Bringing Every Player and Every Play into the “Toy Story” Universe in Real-Time
- Complements Primary, Traditional Game Presentation; Also on ESPN+ from Wembley Stadium
ESPN, The Walt Disney Company and the National Football League have collaborated on a first-of-its-kind NFL game presentation – Toy Story Funday Football – as real-time action between the Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars will be experienced in Pixar’s iconic “Toy Story” Universe. Fans of all ages will immerse themselves in a fully-animated offering on Sunday morning, October 1, at 9:30 a.m. ET, on Disney+, ESPN+ and on mobile with NFL+.
ESPN and Disney’s “Toy Story” alternate telecast complements the primary game presentation of the Falcons and Jaguars’ Week 4 matchup available on ESPN+, local broadcast stations in the markets of the participating teams, and on mobile with NFL+. Chris Fowler, Dan Orlovsky, Louis Riddick, and Laura Rutledge will be inside Wembley Stadium for the game’s call.
Andy’s Room to Host Toy Story Funday Football
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.
In addition to the gameplay, all the surrounding aspects of the game – announcers, graphics, scoreboard, penalty announcements, celebrations, and more – will all embrace the “Toy Story”-themed offering in their packaging and delivery, all occurring in Andy’s room.
Woody, Buzz Lightyear and many of the characters from the acclaimed animated series will be visible throughout, participating from the sidelines and in other non-gameplay elements.
This first-of-its kind NFL presentation is made possible by ESPN, ESPN’s Edge Innovation Center, Disney, NFL, Pixar, Next Gen Stats, Beyond Sports, and Silver Spoon.
More on ESPN, Disney, and the NFL’s Toy Story Funday Football Alternate Presentation:
- Announcers: Drew Carter (play-by-play), Booger McFarland (analyst) and 12-year old Pepper Persley (reporter) will commentate, with all three fully animated and their body movements viewed through motion-capture technology
- Iconic “Toy Story” Characters: Joining Woody and Buzz in Andy’s room will be Bo Peep, Bullseye, Bunny, Ducky, Forky, Green Aliens, Jesse, Rex, and Slinky Dog.
- Special Halftime Show: Duke Caboom will attempt a motorcycle jump
- Learning the Game: Demonstrations, including ‘how to’ videos, trivia, and more will be used through the telecast to teach the game of football to the audience.
- Hear from the Players: The real-life Falcons and Jaguar players will also contribute through pre-recorded segments and interviews.
The exclusive streaming presentation of an NFL game is one of the many added elements in ESPN’s new rights agreement with the NFL.
Available Live and On Replay in the United States and Globally
In the United States, Toy Story Funday Football will be available live on Disney+ and ESPN+, with replay available shortly after the game ends on Disney+ and NFL+ for a limited time. Globally, the special presentation will be available in over 95 markets live and/or replay, spanning five continents including in Brazil, UK, Mexico and France. Video on Demand will also be available in these and other markets 24 hours after the live broadcast ends.
ESPN’s Innovation Continues to Elevate Fan Experiences
Toy Story Funday Football is ESPN’s most recent in a decades-long creation of alternate productions. Within the NFL property, Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli has re-written ESPN’s viewership records in the alternate telecast category. More on ESPN’s history is available here.
About Toy Story
Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story premiered in theaters in 1995 and has since grown to include four sequels, two television specials and several shorts, and has become a fan-favorite franchise around the world. The Toy Story films showcase the adventures of former-rivals-turned-best-friends Woody, the lanky, likable cowboy, and Buzz Lightyear, the fearless space ranger. Along with their many toy friends, Woody and Buzz will do whatever it takes to look after their kid. Over the years, Toy Story has brought smiles and created memories for children and adults alike, not only through the animated features and shorts, but also through related merchandise, theme park experiences and more.
ESPN+ is the No. 1 sports streaming platform, serving fans in the U.S. with exclusive access to more than 27,000 live sports events each year, an unmatched library of on-demand replays and acclaimed original content, and premium written articles by the top reporters and analysts from ESPN.com. Fans sign up to ESPN+ for just $9.99 a month (or $99.99 per year) at ESPN.com, ESPNplus.com or in the ESPN App on mobile and connected devices.
Disney+ is the dedicated streaming home for movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic, along with The Simpsons and much more. In select international markets, it also includes the general entertainment content brand, Star. The flagship direct-to-consumer streaming service from Disney, Disney+ offers an ever-growing collection of exclusive originals, including feature-length films, documentaries, live-action and animated series, and short-form content. With unprecedented access to Disney’s long history of incredible film and television entertainment, Disney+ is also the exclusive streaming home for the newest releases from The Walt Disney Studios. Disney+ is available as a standalone streaming service, as part of the Disney Bundle in the U.S. that gives subscribers access to Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+, or as part of Combo+ in Latin America with Star+, the standalone general entertainment and sports streaming service in the region. For more, visit disneyplus.com, or find the Disney+ app on most mobile and connected TV devices.
Sports Techie, Jake scored his first ever touchdown this year in a flag football game played by 5 year old and 6 year old boys, it sure was exciting to behold!
Jake’s bro, Kellan, loves visiting Mercedes-Benz Stadium and rooting on the Falcons here in Atlanta so there is little question whom we want to win on Toy Story Funday Football, Buzz’s team!
Be sure to be Lightyear Ready on Sunday, Oct 1 (also my Mom’s 84th birthday) at 9:30 AM EST became you know we will be.
Attracting younger generations with relevant content they already love is a novel approach to growing the game and attracting new fans. ESPN had major success with this model earlier this past summer with broadcasting and streaming the relaunch of SlamBall.
“It will be cool for the kids. If I was a kid, and they did that for a football game, it would definitely be entertaining,” said Lawrence to reporters earlier this week.
For interested Toy Story Fun Day viewers, check out these Disney Bundle options.
Enjoy Toy Story Fun Day 2023 no matter what your age, it is sure to be amazeballs for all.
See you later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!
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