Disney and ESPN are pairing up to bring animation to the National Football League, and no, it’s not another dancing robotic football player. For the first time, Toy Story is taking the field.
While the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Atlanta Falcons face off at Wembley Stadium in London, Team Toy Story will go toe to toe in Andy’s room as a real-time animated recreation of the game. Each Jaguar and Falcon player will have an animated avatar playing on a toy-sized football field in Andy’s room, with every play from the real game replicated with only a slight delay.
The special Toy Story virtual game is part of a collaboration between ESPN, EPSN’s Edge Innovation Center, Disney, NFL, Pixar, Next Gen Stats, Beyond Sports, and Silver Spoon, and offers a kid-friendly way to follow the action.
NFL’s Next Gen Stats player tracking data and Beyond Sports captures all the action, including every run, pass, and touchdown, and recreates them into an animated version in Andy’s room. The animated version of the game will have an estimated 30-second delay, which is still an impressive turnaround time.
While Chris Fowler, Dan Orlovsky, Louis Riddick, and Laura Rutledge cover the game from London, Toy Story characters will provide insight into the action at Andy’s.
Former Carolina Packers Drew Carter is announcing the game and will give a play-by-play commentary on the action. Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Anthony Darelle “Booger” McFarland will offer analysis and insight, while 12-year-old ESPN journalist Pepper Persley will report on the field, interviewing real-life Falcon and Jaguar players.
Woody and Buzz Lightyear will be at the game along with Bo Peep, Bullseye, Bunny, Ducky, Forky, Jesse, Rex, Slinky Dog, and the Green Aliens. Duke Caboom will perform a daring motorcycle jump during a special halftime show.
The game at “Andy’s Stadium” will also include trivia and show demonstrations so fans can learn more about football.
The NFL International Series Week 4 matchup games air on Sunday, October 1, at 9:30 a.m. ET on ESPN+ and the NFL+. Catch the Toy Story near-instant replay live on Disney+, ESPN+, and the NFL+ mobile app. A replay will be available for a limited time on Disney+, ESPN+, and video on demand 24 hours after the live broadcast.
There is no word yet on who Andy or the rest of the Toy Story crew is rooting for.