Pop culture is filled with a host of eyebrow-raising crossovers. From that ongoing fangirl interactions between Cardi B and You’s Penn Badgley, to that other time Timothée Chalamet parodied Troye Sivan during a skit on Saturday Night Live. In the world of television broadcasting, the crossovers can appear even more incongrous, like when children’s TV channel Nickelodeon decides to air the Super Bowl.
That’s right, the same network that houses Spongebob (not that one) also has a long-running history of sports broadcasting, most recently covering the 2024 Super Bowl LVIII. Given the sheer number of headline-grabbing moments that took place during the game, from album announcements to starry attendees, some fans might’ve missed the fact that over on Nickelodeon, the Super Bowl was being presented Spongebob and Patrick (the network’s biggest stars), with Sandy Cheeks manning the on-field reportage.
So as fans continue their online obsession with the channel’s Super Bowl coverage (Dora explaining a false start was a particular favorite), we’re all still left wondering: How many times has Nickelodeon broadcast the Super Bowl?
How many times has Nickelodeon broadcast the Super Bowl?
Nickelodeon’s foray into sports broadcasting dates back to the early 2000s, when the channel was taken under the ownership of CBS Corporation, who is one of four networks in rotation for the annual Super Bowl TV broadcasting rights. With its corporate cousin in CBS, Nickelodeon has aired six Super Bowl-related special programs, beginning with 2004’s Nickelodeon Takes Over the Super Bowl.
That was an hour-long special broadcast ahead of the game, and featured then-Nickelodeon darlings like Drake Bell and Josh Peck, as well as CBS Sports reporter Bonnie Bernstein. In 2014, Nickelodeon hosted its second batch of Super Bowl programming. In a string of week-long specials ahead of the game, the network aired interviews with footballers, coverage of the Super Bowl mania in Times Square, and the premiere of the Nickelodeon series, Take Me to Your Mother, which featured Super Bowl player J. J. Watt.
Nickelodeon’s next bout of Super Bowl coverage arrived in 2017, when it hosted the Superstar Slime Showdown at Super Bowl. The special was presented by Nick Cannon, and pitted network stars like Kel Mitchell against athletes in an array of football challenges. Nickelodeon hosted the same special the following year (2018), this time enlisting the likes of JoJo Siwa, and NFL athletes Drew Brees, Stefon Diggs, and Todd Gurley, among others.
In 2019, Nickelodeon broadcast a 45-minute Super Bowl-themed revival of its popular game show Double Dare, in which NFL stars Drew Brees and Russell Wilson faced off against Cousins for Life castmates Scarlet Spencer and Dallas Dupree Young.
The Nickelodeon Super Duper Super Bowl Pregame Spectacular (try saying that three times) aired in 2021, as part of a tie-in for Super Bowl LV. It was hosted by Gabrielle Nevaeh Green and Lex Lumpkin, and featured season highlights broadcast over Super Bowl weekend.
Which brings us to 2024, in which Nickelodeon hosted a kid-focussed simulcast of Super Bowl LVIII, airing in tandem with CBS’ regular coverage. The kid-focused broadcast included special on-screen graphics, animated reporters, and jokes about Leonardo DiCaprio. It marked the first time ever that the Super Bowl had received an alternate telecast, and judging by the fan reaction, we hope there’s many more to come.