EXCLUSIVE: Amazon Prime Video has scored a landmark soccer documentary series from producers including Joe Roth, coffee chain Starbucks, Barbarians Rising producer October Films and Spanish firm Brutal Media. The SVOD service will launch This Is Football, a six-part series that will look at the stories behind the world’s most popular sport, on August 2.
It comes after Deadline revealed last July that British indie October Films, which makes shows such as Nat Geo’s Mygrations and Levison Wood’s Walking franchise, had partnered with Spain’s Brutal Media, which makes shows such as This Is Art for TV3 and Movistar and dramas such as We Shall Return for Televisió de Catalunya and Televisión Española, to develop the project.
The series will explore the emotions, stories, passions and triumphs behind the sport. Each episode will tackle a different theme including redemption, looking at the sports’ role in rebuilding Rwanda after the genocide, belief, looking at the rise of the women’s game, pride, exploring how Iceland’s underdogs have overperformed, and wonder, unlocking the secrets of Lionel Messi’s genius.
The series, which will launch in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, was filmed across the globe from Iceland to Argentina, Spain to Rwanda and China to the United States, and will feature interviews with legendary players, presidents and managers.
This Is Football is written and co-created by journalist and author John Carlin, who wrote the book that Invictus was based on, based on an original idea by him and Brutal Media’s Raimon Masllorens. The episodes are overseen by One Night in Turin director James Erskine as creative director with Mygrations’ Jos Cushing as series exec producer.
Former Disney and Fox chairman Joe Roth, who owns soccer team Seattle Sounders, exec produces alongside Carlin, Masllorens and October Films’ Adam Bullmore. The series is scored by Mission Impossible: Fallout composer Lorne Balfe.
It is the latest high-profile sports documentary series for Amazon, which runs series including All Or Nothing: Manchester City. It is also the first major series to be funded and co-produced by coffee chain Starbucks. The Seattle firm has previously funded projects including Rwanada genocide doc Hingakawa, but This Is Football marks a step up in ambition.
“The universal appeal of football is something we know resonates strongly with the Amazon Prime Video audience worldwide, so I’m delighted that we are able to bring this fascinating six-part series of unique stories about the world’s most talked about sport exclusively to Prime Video,” said Vernon Sanders, Co-Head of Television, Amazon Studios. “We’re thrilled to add This is Football to our stable of award-winning docu-series and live sports for Prime Video audiences around the world.”
October Films’ Bullmore said, “Football is now a universal language and everywhere you look, football is touching lives and inspiring us in remarkable ways. So, we’re thrilled to be partnering with Amazon Studios and Starbucks to bring these stories to a global audience.”
Brutal Media’s Masllorens said, “We cannot be more proud to have teamed-up with our amazing partners for such a great match. It’s really a dream come true that one of our most beloved projects, cooked in-house for such a long time, is now a top tier TV series that will get to every home in the world. Thanks to this team work I’m sure This Is Football will spread the magic of football and their human stories among diverse and massive audiences around the globe.”
Joe Roth added: “This is a fantastic series of stories that begin to explain why it’s the world’s most popular sport.”
Gina Woods, senior vice president, Public Affairs for Starbucks, said, “Starbucks mission of inspiring and nurturing the human spirit brings customers and partners together in our stores every day. While we do this through coffee, football has a similar ability to unite people around the world across boundaries of age, background and beliefs. It’s this shared spirit of connection and values that drew us to the project and we’re thrilled to share it with our partners and customers around the world.”