The NFL might be the most popular sports league in the U.S., but it’s still seeking ways to appeal to new demographics. While American kids tune in to games on their parents’ TVs, the NFL wants to attract young viewers genuinely interested in football. To do so, they’re turning to Nickelodeon, a network that’s drawn in many generations of young viewers.
The Nickelodeon Football League?
The sports world constantly wants to attract demographics who aren’t necessarily interested. For several years, the NBA tried to bring in the Indian market and even played a pair of preseason games there before the 2019-20 season. In 2017, Telemundo Deportes and Universo began to broadcast games in Spanish to interest more people, according to Media Moves. Getting youth involved, however, takes some creativity.
Children likely won’t be as enthralled with Joe Buck’s play-calling or Tony Romo’s psychic football sense as adults. They want to be entertained, and what better way to entertain than with SpongeBob SquarePants? The network has dabbled in sports with Nickelodeon Games and Sports and Crashletes, which Rob Gronkowski hosted. But this will be the network’s first effort at kid-centric live sports, reports Yahoo Sports. The CBS-owned network could not be happier.
The league will begin with wild-card games, but if it’s a successful experiment, they’d likely look into expanding this to become a regular occurrence.
“The youth demographic is very important — there are plenty of young fans, and we want to continue to bring the game to the young fans,” NFL Executive Brian Rolapp stated. “This was an idea that CBS had to do that was to create a special production for them … What we expect it to be like, we’re not sure yet. There’s a lot of planning and work that will go into that, and CBS Viacom will be hard at work at that.”
SpongeBob meets the NFL
Of course, Twitter had a field day with jokes about the league’s agreement with Nickelodeon. People tweeted memes, jokes, and references to Nickelodeon shows mashed up with NFL players and lingo. The results were hilarious. Of course, none of these would be complete without SpongeBob mashups. Adam Kowalski made his feelings known via Twitter:
Of course, no Nickelodeon-themed NFL content would be complete without references to a classic episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, where the characters performed at centerfield.
No NFL/Nickelodeon crossover would be complete without some signature music, either. As @ericvdunn points out, many people remember this Nickelodeon soundbite — but not like this.
Nickelodeon fun — and disbelief
Not everything involved SpongeBob Memes and other references to Bikini Bottom. Others chose a different route. Twitter’s @Breesoverrated lamented the idea of his Buccaneers making the playoffs only to view it on the former home of Catdog.
@Stadium, on the other hand, mashed up several Nickelodeon shows into one tweet.
The news made @FanSided reflect on the hilarious time Peyton Manning tried to get a group of kids interested in pickup football.
This is all meant for the kids, obviously. But those on Twitter had a field day with the NFL’s announcement, anyway. With so many headlines focusing on suspended sports and greater problems, seeing Twitter come together and focus on something lighthearted refreshed all of us sports fans.