How an NFL Wild-Card Game Was the Most-Watched Show on Nickelodeon in Four Years
Updated: Jan 22
By Alex Onaindia
Companies across the world are constantly looking for ways to innovate and attract new customers. The National Football League is no different. The NFL realizes that if someone isn’t a fan by their 20’s, they likely aren’t going to become a fan at all.
The league has focused on creative ways to engage the next generation of football fans through programs like Play 60, the National Football League's commitment to youth health and wellness. The league has also fully embraced social media, including newer and younger platforms like TikTok. 60% of US TikTok users are aged between 16-24, according to Reuters. The NFL has 5.6m followers on TikTok and stars like Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster lead the charge with athlete-driven content on the platform.
During the NFL’s Wild Card round of the playoffs, the Chicago Bears vs. New Orleans Saints game was broadcasted on Nickelodeon alongside the traditional CBS broadcast. The Nickelodeon broadcast was the first of its kind and was a huge success. The collaboration drew excellent reviews for its originality, production, and exuberant presentation. Announcers Noah Eagle and Nate Burleson teamed with Nick star Gabrielle Neveah Green to create a football broadcast tailored to a younger generation.
The presentation included custom graphics like slime cannons for each touchdown and a Spongebob Squarepants graphic between the field goal uprights for each attempt.
With over 2 million viewers, it was the most-watched program on Nickelodeon in nearly four years. It wasn’t just a success on TV, social media loved it as well. According to Zoomph, a leading social media analytics company, it created almost $6 million in social media value. Just on the weekend of the broadcast, there were 73,323 Tweets that received 402 million impressions and 2.2 million engagements.
By integrating Nickelodeon talent into a fun broadcast with custom graphics that were designed to engage the next generation of football fans, the NFL and Nickelodeon made magic and slime, before, during, and after the game. Look for more sports leagues in the future to try to innovate with concurrent broadcasts geared towards different audiences.