Microsoft’s Xbox Entertainment Studios, the branch of the company responsible for developing original content on Xbox One, Xbox 360, and other platforms, is reportedly set to explore the world of street soccer in the newly greenlit, unscripted series, Every Street United. According to Deadline, the Mandalay Sports Media-produced series spans eight 30-minute episodes. Each one take an up-close look at street soccer players in different countries, as the series heads to the United States, Spain, Holland, France, Argentina, Brazil, Ghana, and South Korea. There’s also some suggestion of a possible ninth finale episode set during the 2014 World Cup, with the top eight players profiled in previous episodes attending championship games and squaring off in a 4-on-4 matchup of their own.
Mandalay was founded in 2012 by Mike Tollin, producer of Coach Carter and Varsity Blues; and Peter Guber, a longtime film producer (Rain Main, The Color Purple) and co-owner of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and the MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers. The pair will bring in documentary filmmaker Jonathan Hock, who worked on a handful of episodes in ESPN’s 30 for 30 series, to “direct a portion of the series.” Tollin and Jon Weinbach (another 30 for 30 vet) will serve as executive producers.
Every Street United is the latest we’ve heard in Microsoft’s ongoing initiative to build the Xbox brand into a full-spectrum entertainment destination, one capable of serving the vast range of interests that tend to coalesce around video games. The series is expected to feature “interactive components,” in keeping with the vision laid out by Xbox Entertainment head Nancy Tellem. The former CBS executive was scooped up by Microsoft in 2012 to lead the company’s still-young push for original, non-game content. We saw the first such example of Tellem’s efforts back in May 2013, when she took the stage during the Xbox One reveal to announce the development of a Steven Spielberg-produced series set in the Halo universe.
There’s no word on when the series might premiere, though the hoped-for 2014 World Cup setting for the finale gives us some sense. FIFA’s annual international soccer tournament kicks off on June 12, 2014, and runs all the way through to July 13. Assuming the World Cup plans work out for Every Street United, a late-spring/early-summer launch for the series doesn’t seem out of the question. Take note, however, that it sounds as if Mandalay is in active development on the project; plans could deviate from what Deadline lays out between now and the eventual launch of the series.
We’ve reached out to Microsoft for further comment on the matter, and will update this post accordingly if/when we hear back.