A New Football Broadcast Experience brought to you by…Toy Story?
ESPN recently brought us a “Toy Story” themed alternate broadcast during the NFL game between the Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars. The action unfolded in the fictional Toy Story character Andy’s room, and featured fully-animated gameplay in real time, with beloved Pixar characters making appearances throughout. The broadcast, which was available on ESPN+ and Disney+, had a handful of technical issues, including miscues with ball tracking, various glitches, and random cuts. But the most memorable moment may have come from a discussion between the commentators about Aaron Rodgers, drugs, and UFO conspiracies that we hope went over the heads of the intended audience.
This broadcast is the first of its kind, utilizing generative AI and on field-tracking technology to recreate the entire game, play for play, in real time. While the technology is impressive, the execution wasn’t perfect. However, we can still applaud the effort to try something new and pave the way for creative sports broadcasts in the future.