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Monday, June 17, 2024

Why Whistle Sports Created a Series That Explores Soccer Culture

(Photo via Chris Macchi/Whistle Sports)

We’re a week into the World Cup and if you haven’t gotten your fill of soccer yet, don’t worry, a new original series on YouTube Premium has you covered. “F2 Finding Football” takes fans around the world to explore the beautiful game of soccer. Produced by Whistle Sports, the series stars The F2, which is comprised of notorious soccer freestylers Billy Wingrove and Jeremy Lynch.

“We brought [The F2] into our network years ago,” explained J. Lalonde, the vice president of content at Whistle Sports. “Together we’ve built a pretty massive audience around soccer, and over the years we’ve developed shows both on YouTube, digital, and then for linear television as well.”

“F2 Finding Football” is different than anything they’ve done before. Ahead of the World Cup, Whistle Sports and The F2 decided to go on the road to explore the game of soccer, creating a series that combined culture, community, and sport in a travel-type format.

Showcasing their personalities, The F2 traveled to countries like Brazil, Iceland, and France — all of which had unique soccer cultures and buzz leading up to this summer’s World Cup. The duo also stopped in the U.S., where the national team failed to qualified for the World Cup.

“Our U.S. episode was really to explore how to never let that happen again,” explained Lalonde who, like many Americans, is still heartbroken over the country’s absence in Russia. “One thing is for sure. Women, especially American women, really seem to understand how to get in [to the World Cup].”

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While World Cup countries were important, both The F2 and Whistle Sports didn’t want the series to just be limited to that.

“From day one we agreed that “F2 Finding Football” should have a World Cup focus but also remain evergreen to entertain a wide audience,” said Lynch.

With that in mind, The F2 traveled to places like Thailand where Lalonde and his team saw a “pretty incredible” soccer culture and found sport’s market to be growing.

Although the series is focused on soccer, there is a heavy music influence as well, which Lalonde points to as another way to bring people together and expand the fan base. “F2 Finding Football” featured cameos by DJ Steve Aoki, Blink-182’s Travis Barker, singer Becky G, and rappers A$AP Ferg and Lil Jon.

As for how they identified celebrities to feature on the show, Wingrove makes it clear that, “of course, they had to be football fans.”

He and Lynch looked for storylines that would tie back to the theme of the episode.

“Orri Dýrason’s (drummer from Sigur Ros) father played for Iceland’s national team against Pele. Becky G talks about what football meant to her family. Falcao is a living legend of Futsal in Brazil,” explained Wingrove, discussing some of the storylines of the guests who appeared on the show.

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The trailer, which can be found here, perfectly demonstrates the tone of the series. It is fun, unique, and creative. It also explores culture through sport in a way that is less casual than a typical travel show, but still takes fans on a journey to understand communities that are different than their own.   

“This series represents what Whistle Sports stands for,” Lalonde said. “We celebrate bringing communities together, celebrating creativity through skill and celebrating sports in an entertaining way.”

“Finding Football” does just that. The series, which is as diverse as the game itself, takes viewers around the world to countries with both notorious and unknown soccer cultures. It merges sport and entertainment, widening its audience beyond just soccer fans. See for yourself in the first episode on Argentina, available now on YouTube.

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