Since the AMPTP isn’t meaningfully negotiating with either the WGA or SAG, the Hollywood strikes continue. The longer the strikes go on—the WGA strike has lasted for over 130 days—the less TV series and other content networks and streaming services have. This could be why Disney+ and ESPN+ have come up with Toy Story Funday Football. The event is a real-time alternative presentation of an NFL game featuring the Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars. It will follow the action of a live football game, played at London’s Wembley Stadium, but turn the NFL gameplay into Toy Story-themed animation. It’s a lot to process, but this video spells it out.
Both NFL teams will transform into animated Toy Story-style characters and play in the setting of Andy’s room. The players’ moves in Andy’s room will replicate on-the-field gameplay from the stadium in real-time. The tracking technology uses the NFL’s Next Gen Stats player tracking data and Beyond Sports. On one hand, it’s an extension of existing technology NFL uses, and we see its appeal for bringing in younger viewers. On the other hand, this Toy Story football game is making animated versions of actual people, and in a world where AI-generated everything seems geared towards favoring AI to avoid spending as much money on humans, we’re not sure about this concept.
Toy Story characters may not be playing the NFL game itself, but some of them will be cheering on the sidelines. You’ll see Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, Bullseye, Bunny, Ducky, Forky, Green Aliens, Jesse, Rex, and Slinky Dog. A special halftime show will even feature Toy Story‘s Duke Caboom attempting a motorcycle jump. Who would dare to miss that?
Toy Story Funday Football streams on October 1 at 9:30 a.m. ET on Disney+ and ESPN+.