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Manchester City Soccer Team Animated Series in the Works (EXCLUSIVE)

“Sky Blue Academy,” an animated series set inside the training academy of reigning English Premier League champions Manchester City, is in the works, Variety has learned.

The Pep Guardiola-managed team has enjoyed numerous successes in recent years and broken into world soccer’s elite, becoming a global brand in the process. The show will follow a diverse group of boys and girls living and playing at the soccer squad’s training academy.

Singapore-based media company August Media Holdings, Filipino media group Synergy88 Entertainment, and Spanish shingle Minoria Absoluta are teaming to make the show. With the initial development work done, Synergy88’s Jackeline Chua and August’s Jyotirmoy Saha are in Cannes at the MipJunior and Mipcom markets talking to potential buyers.

The series will focus on the soccer club’s stated values, such as discipline, teamwork, and inclusiveness. “We are getting together with Manchester City to create a show inspired by their academy,” Saha told Variety. “We are creating a show where football stitches these friends together. It’s about relationships, how you play as a team, and the fun they have living together.”

The turnover of players and staff at a major club, complex image rights, and the long lead times involved in animation mean that the likes of team members Guardiola, Sergio Aguero, and Raheem Sterling will not feature in the series.

If a full greenlight is forthcoming, the toon could deliver by early 2022. The target demographic is 8-to-11-year-olds, and it will run to 26 episodes of 22-minutes apiece. Visually, it will likely be a mix of hand-drawn and CGI animation. August Rights, the distribution arm of August Media, will handle international sales.

The “Sky Blue Academy” plans also take in publishing, and a licensing and merchandising program for fans.

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