Since when did we use NFL, kids and slime in the same sentence? When, on 10th January 2021, the NFL teamed up with CBS and Nickelodeon to broadcast a football game and, with a that, a bit of history was made.
Prior to the event, CBS sports announcer Noah Eagle summed up the broadcast saying, “This is a perfect opportunity to captivate a new audience of sports fans and football fans, while being a family friendly broadcast, so that the family can watch it all as a single unit and have fun. It’s going to be a blend of sports, entertainment, laughs, joy, all of the above, and we’re expecting a good game as well, which doesn’t hurt.” Turns out he might not have been wrong.
He added that they planned to focus less on facts like transactions or where players were drafted, and more fun facts like players, favorite Nick characters or ice cream flavors. Eagle said they hoped to engage younger viewers by humanizing players and making them relatable to the next generation of sports fans.
Well, gosh, growing one’s market seems like a good idea, yes? Fun and slime aside, a football game is still a football game and plays were called as they happened.
There’s a lovely review of this game by Conor Orr for the January SI. He begins with:
“I flipped on the Nickelodeon broadcast in the same spirit that many people drink before a wedding or swallow bags of fungi before a boring summer concert”. He goes on to describe the viewing experience as not only being child friendly, but adult friendly as well, stripping the game of its self- importance and appreciating how rules of the game could be simplified. He spoke about the healthy lack of the “no politics unless they are my politics” that normally dominate a pregame show along with the haughty chatter of the game announces.
“The truth is that football is a game: a silly war simulation for children invented for times of peace back in the late 1800s. People hurdle one another and sometimes hit each other in the groin with errant passes. Was it ever intended to become what it has, and might it be valuable to take a step back and view it from the eyes of a child every once in a while?”
Connor concludes that if we embraced the goofiness of football, we might actually enjoy ourselves.
Read the whole article here.