Patrick Star roasting quarterback Russell Wilson was one of the 2022’s most memorable moments. Now Buzz Lightyear may be taking aim at Trevor Lawrence as part of an even stranger cross-over event by ESPN and Disney+ that will combine the cast of Toy Story with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Atlanta Falcons.
Billed as “Toy Story Funday Football,” the new cross-over will immerse viewers in a “fully-animated” version of Sunday’s game between the Jaguars and Falcons. It’s described as a “first-of-its-kind NFL presentation” in which “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,” the official release says.
Toy Story ? ESPN
When the Falcons and Jaguars face off in London on Oct. 1, an alt broadcast on Disney+ and ESPN+ will be fully animated in real time from Andy’s room. pic.twitter.com/S13cCoHNar
— ESPN (@espn) September 11, 2023
It will take place in Andy’s bedroom, with Woody, Buzz, Bullseye, Bunny, Ducky, Forky, Jesse, Rex, Slinky Dog, and the Green Aliens joining in on the sidelines. Elements such as the graphics, scoreboard, penalties, celebrations, and even the announcers will be framed in the Toy Story universe, and the halftime show will feature a performance by Duke Caboom.
Disney’s efforts follows on from Nickelodeon’s wildly successful takeover of the NFL playoffs, which began in 2021. Nickelodeon’s broadcast, which included then-Saints coach Sean Payton being slimed after a 21-9 victory, was lauded for being a unique take on the traditionally stuffy NFL. Licensed cross-overs have become increasingly common across all major sports amid collaborations with Marvel, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and other popular franchises.
With the Falcons and Jaguars game taking place in the early morning hours as part of the NFL’s annual London tour, it seems that ESPN and Disney are treating a game that would otherwise be mostly ignored as a testbed for future opportunities.
If you want to watch, the game will be available on Disney+ and ESPN+, with a replay available shortly after the game ends for a limited time. If you’re not excited to see the Jaguars and Falcons in the world of Toy Story, the traditional broadcast will be available on NFL+ and ESPN+ starting October 1 at 6:30am ET / 9:30am PT.
Kat Bailey is IGN’s News Director as well as co-host of Nintendo Voice Chat. She is also a perpetually disappointed Minnesota Vikings fan.