NFL: AFC Wild Card Game to be Aired on Nickelodeon

A few days ago, NFL fans got the news that the AFC wild-card game will also be aired on children’s entertainment network Nickelodeon.  In combination with CBS sports, this event will be aired on two channels, however, the Nickelodeon version will be tailored primarily towards a child audience.  In this article, I will be going over three things.

  1. How the NFL plans to make this event tailored to a child based audience
  2. Why the NFL is doing this in the first place
  3. Pros and Cons for this idea

Without further ado, let’s jump right into it.

Summary of how the event will happen

There was a lot of information that the NFL spewed out all at once regarding this event.  Starting off with the basics, the event will be broadcasted live from Nickelodeon on January 10th, 2021.  The event will be led off at 4 P.M. with “The SpongeBob SportsPants Countdown Special” which is essentially a compilation of sports-themed moments from SpongeBob.  The pre-kickoff special will be hosted by Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller, as well as other broadcasters such as former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and CBS Sports’ Jim Nantz

In regards to how this will be different than the real event?  Almost everything will be changed.  It will still be football, but with a Nickelodeon twist to it.  Digitally rendered slime in the endzones, googly eyes on the players, celebrations by characters from characters, and many other things.  This is pretty much a giant promotion for the NFL to get kids of the younger generations into football.  All the gimmicks and small tweaks to the game will make it more appealing to kids in theory.  

Why is the NFL doing this?

Like mentioned before, this is essentially a giant promotional deal for the NFL.  The more people they can get to watch the game the better.  Plus, if this ends up being a resounding success and the viewership goes up, they could continue it in the future as long as Nickelodeon agrees to give them a 3ish hour time slot.  This could also get the NFL a lot of future viewers if the kids like it, as they will be more prone to watch it due to the new additions.  

At the end of the day, as long as the game goes well and Nickelodeon does a good job merging the game itself with the animations, the NFL profits.  That’s where we lead into the pros and cons of this idea.

Pros and Cons

  • Larger viewership numbers for the NFL due to multiple channels airing the game
  • More money from sponsorships, commercial deals, etc.
  • Possible gaining of future fans in younger generations
  • Possibly makes the games more family-friendly and viewable for adults and kids alike, bringing families together.
  • Any form of profane language used by players during the game will be televised to children
  • Fighting, coaches yelling, not wearing masks at points, etc will be shown to children
  • If the deal doesn’t bring in a ton of viewership it’s a relatively large loss for both Nickelodeon and the NFL 
  • If kids don’t like it with the digital twists, they likely won’t return and watch it in adulthood


Overall, this is a relatively good idea by the NFL.  It’s almost win-win for them unless viewership is absolutely horrendous.  Regardless though there is a good chance they get more money as well as more viewers so at the end of the day that’s what matters to them.  If this goes over well they could start selling jerseys and other merchandise that is mixed with Nickelodeon characters.  Something like SpongeBob jerseys with character names on them or other merchandise down that path.  We will see how this goes in January and take it from there.  But regardless, it will definitely be interesting to see play out.

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Do you think this airing will be a success? Leave a comment below and let me know!

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Follow Jeremy on Twitter @ClutchWDN

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