Yesterday, ESPN+ and Disney+ streamed the first-ever Toy Story Funday Football – a special collaboration between ESPN, Pixar, and the National Football League for a real-time, animated telecast of the Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars game.
While the stream showcased the action live from Wembley Stadium in London, Friday and Saturday before the game guests at Disneyland Resort got to feel like they were also in Andy’s room through a photo opportunity courtesy of another company-wide collaboration.
Teammates from ESPN and Disney Parks created a unique experience where fans are “scaled down” to toy size and pose alongside a few iconic Toy Story characters and a few nods to the London location.
Front Row caught up with Erin Thornton, senior director of ESPN Synergy, to hear about how this came together and what makes activations like this so special.
We’re always looking for unique ways to collaborate across The Walt Disney Company, but how did this idea come about?
It’s always great to be able to leverage the power of The Walt Disney Company. As soon as we learned that the “alt presentation” was happening, we began ideating in ways to demonstrate the Disney difference – what better way to bring the game presentation to life than in an experiential activation at Disneyland Resort! We loved that we would be able to make the alternate presentation physically tangible for fans.
What were some of the challenges you faced when putting this together?
The biggest challenge we faced was the timeline, which was the challenge across the board for the alternate presentation. We only had a few weeks to pull the execution off and are so grateful to the many people across the company who helped pull it off.
Even though we were challenged by time, we were confident the project would make it to execution because every person we pitched it to lit up with a huge smile when we shared the idea. It’s great having colleagues who will work hard to make something happen when they know the idea is an incredible one.
What makes this activation special?
The alternate presentation is one of many tactics we’re employing as a company to reach expanded audiences with our content. As we continue to roll out alternate presentations, activations like this will be an important tool to amplify the content and drive awareness for our goal to uniquely make sports a key and relevant part of people’s lives. We’re looking forward to doing more in this space thanks to the unique content fans find across The Walt Disney Company.