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Special Project

Special Project
From the 14th Annual Shorty Awards

Audi x The Academy

Entered in Branded Series


Audi is an official partner of Major League Soccer, with specific investment around the development of youth players, and funding that directly impacts MLS academies across the U.S. Their aim was to connect this Audi mission to a wider audience through storytelling that would capture the imagination, while also demonstrating the ways in which Audi is impacting the next generation of soccer super stars.

With that in mind, we developed The Academy, a docu-series that transports our audience into the intense and aspirational world of a professional soccer club’s academy. For the first season we told the story of young players at Sporting Kansas, and achieved industry acclaim for the stripped-back, revealing, and inspirational result of our time filming with the MLS club.

Audi committed to Season Two before our first run was over. We knew we would face new challenges, with Covid regulations in place, but New York Red Bulls were identified as our focus, and we set to work designing a series that would not only echo the successes of the first, but advance and elevate the storytelling. 

Together with Audi, our goal was to highlight the brand’s commendable commitment to supporting young soccer players, as they progress through MLS academies. We showcased Audi’s role in funding player housing, education and development, and along the way we captured the pure emotion of young athletes going after their dreams.

Strategy and Execution

We started the process by meeting with club officials and New York Red Bulls, to discuss the logistics of filming with the academy, address legal considerations, and align on how we would tackle the Covid situation in our filming, editing, and post-production approach.

From there, we mapped out a shooting calendar to align to the academy’s schedule—making sure we were on site for big moments, and allowing us to ensure real momentum in every episode filmed. We also shortlisted focus players who could drive our storytelling forward in unique and compelling ways.

With a team assembled for the shoot, we set about capturing five stories, to live across five episodes. In addition, we shot for short-form edits that would live on TikTok, and other social platforms. Audi and its agency, 160/90, were looped in on all conversations, as were MLS officials.

Thanks to the Red Bulls, we benefited from unprecedented access to an MLS academy system. The club worked with us in every way possible, allowing us in places camera crews had never filmed before, and taking our audience on an invigorating, and enlightening, journey to the heart of what it means to play in a pro academy.


The Academy, Season 2, was a soaring success, both in terms of traditional metrics, but also in the way the soccer industry at large reacted to its themes and storytelling. 

We achieved 257% viewer growth vs. Series 1, and were inundated with praise and positive feedback from MLS clubs, the league itself, and most importantly, Audi themselves.

- 15.7M video views across the series
- 20M impressions
- 206% over-delivery 
- 13.9% engagement rate on social


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Bleacher Report