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Nickelodeon broadcasted a Sunday National Football League (NFL) wild card game, between New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears, for their audience on the 10th of January 2021.

I could only describe this imaginative broadcast as a peek into the imagination of young fans (no wonder children don’t want to grow up!) Our TV screens were met with AR slime at the endzones and Spongebob Squarepants hidden between the posts. We saw famous Nickelodeon stars who posed effective but basic questions. For example: “What’s it like being tackled?”

This new style of broadcast, targeted at younger viewers, was a massive success. This broadcast caught the eye of the younger generation. Most importantly due to the visuals and popular stars, the audience gained greater awareness and interest in sport.

Nickelodeon’s kid-friendly broadcast had hit 2.06 million viewers, making it the most watched programme on Nickelodeon in four years!. So, consequently there were 73.723 posts along with 2.2 million engagements. Based on this Nickelodeon broadcast, resulting in an estimated media value of $6 million dollars.

Why did the NFL collaborate with Nickelodeon? 

In 2020 only 24% of Generation Z watch sports games on a weekly basis and 39% say they never watch sports games. In short, Sports networks need to understand why engagement with this generation is so weak. The introduction of the Nickelodeon broadcast is the first step of many to reach younger viewers.

The media has evolved, resulting in a younger generation growing up with an array of on-demand options as normal. As media outlets have grown, they have diversified their channels for each segment of the audience. Therefore, making it difficult to find a common theme to satisfy all consumer demands.

However, when we analyse Generation Z networks and platforms, we are looking at applications like TikTok, and games like Sims. Both these forms of media share the theme of expression. The viewer needs to have freedom of their content, the opportunity to be innovative.

Using a child-oriented platform like Nickelodeon, it encourages younger viewers to express themselves. This can lead children to participate in sports with the imagination they want. Merging these two networks can help to create partnerships which, can contribute to a new way of televising sport.

The NFL saw an opportunity to extend the potential of sport, building a new way to present sports and engage with Generation Z. This is only the beginning of delivering more material to the younger audience, and even adding a little joy to the child in all of us.


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