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Chelsea’s Anelka to star in Télé Images’ kids show

French producer Télé Images has recruited Chelsea and France soccer star Nicolas Anelka for the latest season of its popular kids series Street Football.

The show has already been sold into 100 countries, but the deal with Anelka for the third season marks the first time Télé Images has recruited a professional sportsman to star. Anelka will appear in two episodes of season three, which is airing on France 3. Off-air Anelka also got involved into the organization of the first street soccer meeting in Paris on early May, in which 90 teams of kids aged 8-to-12 competed with one another.

The deal helps Télé Images to boost Street Football licensing and merchandising sales while the football player, whose own licensing and merchandising products for kids are managed by France Télévisions Distribution, also get wider exposure by appearing on Street Football merchandise.

Télé Images is part of Zodiak’s Marathon media. It has already had success linking with another sports star, the NBA’s Tony Parker for High 5. The €6.2 million live-action and animated series featuring the San Antonio Spurs player is being made with Paris-based company I Can Fly and Canada’s Breakthrough.

Continuing the sport trend, Télé Images is developing another project, this time related to horse-riding and targeting the 7-11 demo. TF1 is already on board the new show, Mistral, which will be a 26 half-hour series about a girl living in Camargue, Southern France, and taking care of wild horses.