How much did Nickelodeon pay to have its own broadcast of the Super Bowl?

How much did Nickelodeon pay to have its own broadcast of the Super Bowl?

Seeing the Super Bowl on everyone’s TV on a random Sunday in February is far from unexpected. Seeing some people tune into the Super Bowl on Nickelodeon of all places is less expected.

Yes, Nickelodeon hosted a kid-friendly version of the Super Bowl, commentated by Bikini Bottom legends Spongebob Squarepants and Patrick Star (brought to life via reality-augmented versions of Tom Kenny and Bill Fagerbakke respectively.) In addition to the BFF duo, the game was commentated on by human commentators Noah Eagle and Nate Burleson.

But if you thought having Spongebob and Patrick commentate a football game was weird enough, Nick didn’t just stop there. Sideline commentators included Sandy Cheeks and Larry the Lobster, and Dora the Explorer popped in from time to time as a rules expert. Jellyfish floated across the field with players getting a slime bath after every touchdown or field goal. And of course, the iconic halftime performance featured in the Spongebob episode “Band Geeks” is recreated, with 3D Spongebob and Co. performing “Sweet Victory” nearly 23 years after the episode originally aired on the network.


— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) February 11, 2024

So why did Nickelodeon get a simulcast of the Super Bowl? Simply put: the network’s big brother lent them the rights. Back in 2019, Viacom and CBS merged to become ViacomCBS, now known as Paramount Global. This is the same reason Super Bowl LVII was streamable on Paramount Plus, as that’s CBS’ streaming service. Nickelodeon’s parent company is Viacom, so it was easy for CBS to negotiate rights for CBS, Paramount Plus, and Nickelodeon to air the big game.

In terms of how much CBS spent to get those rights, it’s unclear. Typically, three major networks (CBS, Fox, NBC) rotate the rights each year to air the Super Bowl as part of their broadcasting agreement with the NFL. However, in 2021, the NFL signed a new 10-year broadcast agreement including the above three networks, ESPN, and Amazon. While ABC typically does not air any NFL games, as of the new contract, it will be added into the rotation thanks to both ABC and ESPN being owned by Disney. That deal was reported by The New York Times to be worth $110 billion.

While we don’t get another CBS Super Bowl until 2028, this isn’t the last time we’ll see a kid-friendly NFL game air. Throughout the 2023 NFL season, Nickelodeon occasionally simultaneously aired NFL games airing on CBS, giving the popular sport a green and orange coat of paint. Disney saw the success of this and hopped on the trend, creating a Toy Story-themed NFL broadcast for ESPN Plus and Disney Plus. Based on the current broadcast deal, ABC and ESPN will get the Super Bowl in 2026, so maybe we’ll get to see Disney’s take on a kid-friendly Super Bowl that year as well.

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