Back in August, we covered how Amazon’s Prime Video service had announced they’ll air a three-part docuseries from Skydance Sports and Meadowlark Media on the soccer rivalry between the U.S. men’s national team and the Mexico men’s national team. The Meadowlark/Skylark series was initially discussed in January, but it landed a distribution deal with Prime Video in August. In August, that series was called Good Neighbors. It’s now been renamed to Good Rivals, and Prime Video released a trailer for it Thursday, along with a Nov. 24 (Thanksgiving) premiere date. Here’s that trailer:
That trailer will also air during Thursday’s Prime Video broadcast of Thursday Night Football (which has the Philadelphia Eagles on the road against the Houston Texans), which should help get some more eyes on it. Here’s more on the series from a Prime Video release:
Good Rivals will peel back the political, social, and sporting layers of a rivalry that has become must-see TV over the past 30 years. Far more than just a sports documentary, Good Rivals spotlights the personal and professional arcs of stars from each nation, like Landon Donovan (United States) and Rafa Márquez (Mexico), who became symbols of their country’s cultures during their respective careers in the early and mid 2000s. Good Rivals will also examine the passionate, international battle for on-field talent and fan support that has made the U.S.-Mexico border one of the most fascinating soccer frontiers in the world, with players—and families—from both countries becoming the focus of recruiting battles between these two deeply interconnected nations. The men’s national teams from both the U.S. and Mexico qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, which kicks off later this month.
Good Rivals is executive produced by Skydance Sports’ David Ellison, Jesse Sisgold, and Jon Weinbach; Meadowlark Media’s John Skipper and Deirdre Fenton; and Ocellated Media’s Dante Möller. Good Rivals is a co-production from Prime Video Sports and Skydance Sports, with Meadowlark Media and Ocellated producing. The series is directed by Academy Award-nominated Nicaraguan filmmaker Gabriel Serra, and will feature a wide variety of American and Mexican perspectives, with episodes accessible for both English- and Spanish-speaking audiences.
There are a few elements of this worth some further discussion. One is the executive producing credits for the likes of Skipper and Weinbach, two very notable sports media figures. Skipper has long had a significant interest in soccer, something seen through his tenures at ESPN and Perform/DAZN, so it makes sense for him to be personally involved (he co-founded Meadowlark with Dan Le Batard, but doesn’t necessarily work on everything they do). And that’s maybe especially true considering his (debatable) comments about the “void in world-class non event sports content” that’s led Meadowlark to their current documentary strategy. Meanwhile, Weinbach has done plenty of significant sports documentaries and docuseries himself over the years, including the recent The Redeem Team at Netflix.
It’s also notable to see that mention of “episodes accessible for both English- and Spanish-speaking audiences.” We’ve recently talked about the importance of global rights for Amazon, including with their deal this week with basketball league Overtime Elite. Documentaries can be a big part of that, as it’s easier to gain global rights to them than it is for many sports leagues, but multi-language accessibility is highly important to their worldwide success.
The bilingual accessibility here will also be a big deal in the U.S., as there’s huge interest in Spanish-language soccer coverage. That’s especially true around the Mexican national team, a further asset for this documentary, but it also goes well beyond that. (For example, Peacock will be streaming Telemundo’s coverage of the entire 2022 FIFA World Cup in Spanish.) And Spanish-language broadcasts are becoming more and more important in the U.S. broadcasting landscape in general. So this feels like something that will significantly enhance the potential audience for Good Rivals.
The release date is also interesting. This year’s World Cup begins on Nov. 20, so this premiere will come five days into that event, and after the first matches for the USMNT (Nov. 21 vs. Wales) and Mexican national team (Nov. 22 against Poland), but ahead of their second matches (Nov. 25 against England and Nov. 26 against Argentina, respectively). And premiering this on Thanksgiving has some advantages; if the NFL games (Bills-Lions, Giants-Cowboys, and Patriots-Vikings) or other sports (particularly the Ole Miss-Mississippi State Egg Bowl) that day get boring, this series might get some group viewing around family meals. We’ll see how it works out for Amazon.
[Amazon Studios; image from Prime Video on YouTube]