Nickelodeon Enters The Sports World


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SpongeBob SquarePants Is Taking The Field

In a brilliant effort to get kids more interested in professional sports, Nickelodeon teamed up with the NFL to create a truly one-of-a-kind broadcast of the Wild Card Game on January 10. As the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went head-to-head, competing for a spot in the playoffs, Nickelodeon stars and animated characters made the game a memorable experience for fans of every generation.

The sports world is full of marketing efforts, including game and team sponsors, logos galore, and athlete endorsements. Over the past few months, Nickelodeon has begun experimenting with working with the NFL, and it has certainly been very successful. After just a one-game commitment for The Wild Card Game broadcast, they went on to feature their iconic branding in the Super Bowl, as well as an NHL game just a few weeks ago. In this blog, Hollywood Branded discusses the success of Nickelodeon’s collaborations with professional sports leagues.

nickelodeon nfl nhl sports integration

Making The NFL Wild Card Game Even Wilder

To make The Wild Card Game more interesting to young fans, the broadcast made it all about having fun and humanizing the players. Slime was set off virtually in the end zones, silly filters were superimposed on the faces of the players, and the announcers gave details regarding the players’ favorite ice cream flavors and Nickelodeon characters, rather than analyzing career stats and draft picks.


Before the game, Nickelodeon aired a SpongeBob SportsPants Countdown, a compilation of sports-related scenes across every season of SpongeBob SquarePants. During halftime, there was also a special look at the new spinoff show, Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years which will be available on Paramount+.


To play into the Nickelodeon slime tradition as seen on the Kids’ Choice Awards and the network’s iconic game shows like Double Dare, Saints coach Sean Payton announced a few days before the game that he would be slimed if the Saints earned a spot in the next round of the playoffs. In a video uploaded to Twitter, Sean Payton is shown fulfilling this promise.

nickelodeon nfl brand integration wild card game

Scoring Big!

The NFL Wild Card Game scored an average of 2.06 million viewers, a four-year record for Nickelodeon programs. Further, across CBS, CBS All Access, and Nickelodeon, there was a total of 30.65 million viewers, making the Saints vs. Bears the most-watched game of the round.


Aside from the in-game Nickelodeon elements, bringing new viewers to the network also meant having a new audience to see the network commercials. This brings awareness to Nickelodeon content, which will hopefully lead to new regular Nickelodeon viewers.

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More Opportunities With Nickelodeon And Sports

After the success of the Nickelodeon-themed Wild Card Game, the NFL worked with the network again for special elements during Super Bowl LV. Official Nickelodeon and NFL social media handles offered Nickelodeon-related graphics and content leading up to the big game and posted updates during the broadcast.


nickelodeon nfl wild card game


During halftime, the game highlights were “Nick-ified” with graphics and filters overlayed onto clips from gameplay. On the Friday before the big game, Nickelodeon aired The Nickelodeon Super Duper Super Bowl Spectacular, which also included season highlights and predictions with a Nick twist.


The NHL followed in the NFL’s footsteps and also took on the opportunity to collaborate with Nickelodeon. On April 3, the New York Islanders hosted the Philadelphia Flyers with the help of Nickelodeon. To create a multi-platform experience, their app offered interactive activations, trivia, and polls. Nickelodeon fans of all ages were welcomed by characters from current shows like Paw Patrol and SpongeBob SquarePants as well as from old favorites like Rugrats. During the game announcements, the more complex elements of gameplay were explained, including penalties and icing. This is just one small effort to make a complex game more accessible for children to watch and enjoy as much as their family. Although this collaboration with Nickelodeon was an effort made by the Islanders, it will have an impact on the NHL as a whole as it promotes youth viewership and involvement in professional hockey. Fourteen hundred fans attended the game, and the rest of the stands were filled in with cardboard cutouts of favorite Nickelodeon characters.

The Opportunity To Take It To The Next Level

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher, David Price, watched the NFL Wild Card Game with his family and immediately thought that it would be a very valuable activity for the MLB to take to connect more effectively with young fans.


rugrats sweatshirt lakers nba collaborationWill the NBA follow in the footsteps of the rest of the professional sports leagues? If the other leagues have seen success in this effort, then the NBA should too. Just a few days ago, NBA x Rugrats merch was launched by Peace Collective. If there is a market for this kind of merchandise, there should also be a market for a similar broadcast.


Since sports are an extremely lucrative form of entertainment, it is important that companies take the opportunity to get their name tied to this phenomenon that has a hugely loyal following. In the long term, this collaboration can easily become a tradition for families and sports fans across all of the American leagues while being beneficial to Nickelodeon and the leagues.

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What's Next?

Sports marketing can be so powerful. Take a look at these other blogs from the Hollywood Branded Team that highlights marketing opportunities at The Super Bowl, athlete endorsers, and so much more!

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