October 5, 2023

To Infinity and Beyond: How the NFL is Marketing to Gen Z and Gen Alpha

To Infinity and Beyond: How the NFL is Marketing to Gen Z and Gen Alpha

The NFL recently created buzz by broadcasting the Jaguars-Falcons game on Disney+ in the style of the classic animated film, Toy Story. The game was live-streamed on ESPN+ and Disney+ and the move was a strategic one, designed to reach Gen Z and Gen Alpha. The NFL was able to draw in an audience, with stats showing an impressive viewership for the game. Since 2021, Nickelodeon has collaborated with the NFL to broadcast games, and they have also had substantial success with this approach. Last season’s Christmas Day “Slime-cast” of the Los Angeles Rams vs. Denver Broncos, for example, averaged 906,000 viewers. Similarly, with the help of Toy Story and Disney, the NFL created a buzz for younger viewers for the Jaguars-Falcons game.

Targeting Gen Z and Gen Alpha: Why the NFL is Changing Its Game Plan

In order to stay relevant and appeal to younger generations, the NFL has recognized the need to change its game plan. With Gen Z and Gen Alpha increasingly shifting their attention towards digital platforms and streaming services, the traditional methods of broadcasting games are no longer sufficient. The recent Jaguars-Falcons matchup, shown in Toy Story style on Disney+, was a perfect example of the NFL’s efforts to captivate the attention of these younger viewers. 

By embracing popular animated films and incorporating them into the game broadcast, the NFL was able to create a unique and engaging experience that resonated with this target audience. This innovative approach not only showcases the NFL’s willingness to adapt to changing times but also its commitment to maximizing limited resources in order to reach a wider and younger audience. 

The success of this new strategy demonstrates the NFL’s dedication to remaining a major player in the ever-evolving landscape of sports entertainment.

Enter the Toy Story Theme: How the NFL Captured the Attention of Younger Viewers

In the world of sports entertainment, captivating the attention of younger viewers is crucial for staying relevant. The NFL understands this, which is why they recently introduced a unique and engaging broadcast featuring the beloved characters from Toy Story. By incorporating the Toy Story theme into the Jaguars-Falcons game, the NFL was able to capture the imagination of Gen Z and Gen Alpha viewers, who are increasingly drawn to digital platforms and streaming services.

The use of the Toy Story theme was a stroke of genius, as it provided a familiar and exciting backdrop for the game. From the opening graphics to the in-game animations, every detail was thoughtfully designed to transport viewers into the world of Toy Story. The tech for Toy Story Funday Football was supplied by Beyond Sports and this inventive approach not only demonstrated the NFL’s readiness to embrace new audiences but also reinforced NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s commitment to staying ahead of the curve. In a recent cover story with The Hollywood Reporter, Goodell stated, “We must consistently stay ahead in our strategic approach to be present where our fans are—on the platforms they prefer.”

The NFL’s use of the Toy Story theme demonstrates their understanding of the power of nostalgia and the importance of creating a unique and immersive experience for viewers. By successfully capturing the attention of younger generations, the NFL is setting a new standard for sports broadcasting and ensuring their continued relevance in an ever-evolving digital landscape.

Nickelodeon vs. Toy Story: Comparing Two Kid-Friendly NFL Broadcasts

When it comes to kid-friendly NFL broadcasts, the recent Nickelodeon and Toy Story themed games stand out as two of the most innovative approaches. Both broadcasts were designed to capture the attention of younger viewers, but they did so in different ways. 

The Nickelodeon broadcast, which featured colorful slime graphics and entertaining explanations of football concepts by the commentators, was a hit among kids. It brought a playful and light-hearted vibe to the game, making it more accessible and engaging for young viewers. 

On the other hand, the Toy Story themed broadcast on Disney+ took a different approach, using the beloved characters and familiar storyline of the movie to create a captivating backdrop for the game. It appealed to the sense of nostalgia in both kids and adults, making it a unique and memorable viewing experience. 

While both broadcasts successfully targeted younger viewers, they did so through different strategies. The Nickelodeon broadcast was more interactive and educational, while the Toy Story broadcast focused on creating an immersive and nostalgic experience. Overall, both approaches were successful in capturing the attention of younger viewers and showcasing the NFL’s commitment to engaging with younger generations.

Related Blog: Nickelodeon’s Super Bowl Broadcast: A New Frontier for Advertising 


Stats and Figures: Analyzing the Success of the NFL’s Strategy

According to The Athletic, Nickelodeon’s stream of the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints on Jan. 10, 2021 drew an average of 2.06 million viewers, with a total of 30.65 million across CBS and Nickelodeon. Time will reveal the viewership of Disney’s Toy Story Funday Football, indicating whether it surpasses the Nickelodeon broadcast.

By using the Toy Story theme, the NFL was able to create a buzz and generate excitement among both kids and adults. This innovative strategy showcased the NFL’s commitment to adapting to changing times and reaching a wider audience.

Applying Lessons Learned: Maximizing Your Social Media Strategy

In today’s digital age, a strong social media strategy is essential for any brand or organization looking to connect with younger generations. The NFL’s innovative approach to broadcasting the Jaguars-Falcons game in Toy Story style offers valuable lessons for social media managers.

To maximize your social media strategy, consider these key takeaways from the NFL’s success. First, focus on creating content that resonates with your target audience. Think about what interests them, what captures their attention, and what will make them want to engage with your brand. Second, embrace popular trends and themes that are relevant to your target demographic. By tapping into nostalgia or incorporating elements from beloved films or TV shows, you can create a sense of familiarity and connection with your audience. Finally, explore creative ways to deliver your message, such as interactive features, user-generated content, or partnerships with influencers.

While the NFL’s resources may be on a different scale, the lessons learned from their Toy Story themed broadcast can be applied to any social media strategy, regardless of budget. By staying innovative, strategic, and in tune with the interests of your target audience, you can maximize your brand presence and make a lasting impact, even with limited resources.


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