In a first for the burgeoning realm of alternate live sports telecasts, an upcoming NFL game will be adapted in real time as a fully animated contest taking place in the Toy Story universe.
The October 1 game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Atlanta Falcons is billed as Toy Story Funday Football. It will kick off on Disney+ and ESPN+ at 9:30 a.m. ET, an early start because it is part of the NFL’s annual series of international games, taking place at London’s Wembley Stadium. Already, the game will be a streaming affair, with the main broadcast appearing on ESPN+, one of the streaming exclusives provided for as part of media companies’ $110 billion rights renewal with the NFL. The Falcons-Jaguars game will also stream on NFL+. Related Stories Sports Aaron Rodgers On Season-Ending Injury Minutes Into His First Game With NY Jets: "I Shall Rise Yet Again" Breaking News Disney's ABC Stations Could Be Bought By Nexstar With "Little Friction" If They Are Sold Off, Company Advisor Tom Carter Says; Hails "Progress" In Lengthy DirecTV Carriage Dispute
Using the NFL’s Next Gen Stats and on-field tracking data, every player and play will be presented in “Andy’s Room,” the familiar, brightly colored setting for the Toy Story franchise. The action will be virtually simultaneous with the main game telecast, with most plays recreated after an expected delay in the neighborhood of about 30 seconds. Woody, Buzz Lightyear and many other characters will be visible throughout, and a press release notes they will be “participating from the sidelines and in other non-gameplay elements.” Along with game action, the announcers, graphics, scoreboard, referees’ penalty announcements, celebrations and other parts of the experience will all be rendered in a Toy Story-centric fashion. (For a glimpse of how it will look, check out the video above.)