Barça Studios and Sony Music Latin Iberia are teaming to produce “Talent Explorers,” an animated series which marks the third title from Barça Studios, the burgeoning film-TV content arm of F.C. Barcelona, one of the world’s biggest soccer clubs.
The series – which sees Max, a 15 year-old boy, Roc, big bear with a heart of gold, and Lynds, a tech-savvy pink kitten, travel the world, scouting for the next generation of soccer stars, – marks the third title at Barça Studios, after first team player doc series “Matchday,” just released by Netflix in Latin America.
A second title, “La Masia,” represents Barça Studios’ first scripted series, set at the soccer club’s youth academy, and written by Albert Espinosa, creator of the Filmax-produced “The Red Band Society,” one of the most re-versioned Spanish series in its TV History, including a U.S. makeover adapted for Fox by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin TV and ABC Studios.
Barça Studios and Sony Music Latin Iberia dropped a teaser-trailer on Friday March 15. To the music of afmed Spanish group Estopa’s “Tengo un sueño,” which played with reworked lyrics, the trailer showing Max, Roc and Lynds zooming in on a potential talent via an airborne car, with talent-meters capable of ranking young players. They discover Lyli, a little American girl aged only 6. But she can sure dribble, with one of her tricks recalling Neymar’s, an ex Barça star.
In a sector, TV, where so many shows – and this may be especially true of animation – roll off established IPs, “Talent Explorers” rolls off one of the strongest IPs in the world: A top soccer club.
The series also appeals to a captive audience of F.C. Barcelona fans and often creatives – 400 million, by one estimate – and taps the financial muscle of one of the strongest non-U.S. brands in the sports and entertainment world.
“Talent Explorers” is also first fruit of a strategic agreement with Sony Music Latin Iberia, signed last Summer. Sony Music Iberia media content director, Sergi Reitg, is also one of Southern Europe’s most experienced and successful animation executives, building his company, Imira Entertainment, into a top Spanish kids-family content distributor-producer, successfully capitalizing on new digital revenue streams, before joining Sony Music Iberia in 2018.
Paco Latorre, director of Barça Studios, and Reitg will lead production the series, which will feature a soundtrack by some of Sony Music Latin Iberia’s finest international artists. Screenwriter is Tab Murphy, an Acadey Award nominee who has worked for Paramount Pictures and The Walt Disney Company on animated films like Disney’s “Tarzan,” “Brother Bear” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” as well as such series as “Teen Titans” and conventional movies like “Gorillas in the Mist” and “The Addams Family.”
Series creative director is Jorge Blanco, director of “Planet 51,” the biggest animation movie ever made in Spain, and Spanish Academy Goya Award winning “Mortadelo and and Filemon: Mission Implausible.”
“This project also helps Barça Studios grow as an audiovisual content factory, by exploring a new terrain like cartoons. It means the club can create a new Intellectual Property (IP) that is dissociated from the players or from real-life competitions, which often limit the capacity for marketing content,” Dídac Lee, a board member responsible for the F.C. Barcelona digital Area said in a statement.
Afo Verde, chairman & CEO, Sony Music Latin Iberia, commented: “We love to see superstars from our roster both excited and eager to participate in this joint venture. Our very own Estopa is part of this teaser and we will be working with more of our great artists to produce the soundtrack for the series. This is just beginning.”