ESPN to stream ‘Toy Story’-themed animated alternate broadcast of Falcons-Jaguars in Week 4

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To the NFL and beyond!

ESPN will stream a “Toy Story”-themed alternate broadcast of the Week 4 London matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars, the network announced Monday. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The “Toy Story Funday Football” broadcast — airing on Disney+, ESPN+  and NFL+ at 9:30 a.m. ET on Oct. 1 — will show animated game action in real time.
  • The game will be set on a “traditional looking field, catered to the ‘Toy Story’ setting” inside the character Andy’s room. The announcers, graphics, scoreboard and other broadcast elements will also be “Toy Story”-themed with characters from the classic movie series appearing throughout.
  • Drew Carter (play-by-play), Booger McFarland (analyst) and 12-year-old reporter Pepper Persley will be on the call, with all three fully animated.

The Athletic’s instant analysis:

Why ESPN, NFL are adding this broadcast

Like all professional sports leagues, the NFL desires the under-18 demographic. Create a fan young and you get his or her money for decades. Earlier this year the NFL and CBS Sports announced that this season’s Super Bowl will have a kids-centric presentation on Nickelodeon, marking the first time the Super Bowl has had an alternate telecast on another network. Now comes another foray into the kids market.

The Disney Company and the NFL collaborating on “Toy Story Funday Football” for the Falcons-Jaguars game is a way to draw PR on multiple fronts — for Pixar’s “Toy Story” universe, for the NFL, for Disney+, for ESPN+ and for NFL+. Last year’s Niners-Cowboys playoff game that aired on CBS and Nickelodeon drew a total of 30.65 million, including an average of 2.06 million on Nickelodeon. This game won’t do those kinds of numbers given the matchup and that it’s a regular-season contest, but it’s all additive viewing — and that’s a win for the NFL and Disney. — Deitsch


CBS Sports and Nickelodeon began airing alternate, slime-filled NFL broadcasts with animated and augmented reality components during the 2021 playoffs, drawing rave reviews.

The networks are set to collaborate on two games during the 2023-24 season. Nickelodeon will air the “NFL Nickmas Game” between the Las Vegas Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs at 1 p.m. ET on Christmas Day, and will have an alternate Super Bowl LVIII telecast on Nickelodeon on Feb. 11, 2024.

(Photo: Trevor Ruszkowski / USA Today)

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