Nickelodeon said it would move deeper into sports-themed programming for kids by launching a new primetime block on its NickToons network that will feature a mix of original and acquired longform and shortform content from the NFL, Major League Soccer and Nascar along with other shows.
The new block, to be known as NickSports, will air on Nicktoons on Wednesdays starting September 3 between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. eastern.
“More than 70 percent of kids ages 7-14 in the U.S. play two-to-three organized sports a year, so the interest and enthusiasm is already there,” said Keith Dawkins, senior vice president and general manager of Nicktoons, TeenNick and Nick Jr., in a prepared statement. “Our NickSports block will bring kids and families into the huddle by giving them an all-access pass to their favorite athletes, teams and leagues.”
The move follows the debut of Nickelodeon’s launch of its Michael Strahan-hosted “Kids’ Choice Sports” awards show this past summer, and seems to suggest the Viacom outlet sees a new opportunity to stand apart from a crowded kid-video pack by burnishing sports themes.
The NickSports block will feature a rotating lineup of sports-themed content including series, specials and documentaries from leagues and key athletes, as well as acquired theatrical movies.
The National Football League will contribute “NFL Rush,” a half-hour magazine-format show from NFL Films featuring NFL highlights, bloopers, trivia, the science of football, players off the field and throwback moments in NFL history. The series will last 15 episodes. Major League Soccer will contribute several acquired short-form segments. Nascar will add “Hammer Down,” a new four episode docu-series profiling the next generation of NASCAR drivers.
The block will also feature episodes of “Wild Grinders,” an animated series about skate kids, along with several sports-themed documentaries and movies.