Forging programming relationships with the NFL, MLS and NASCAR, Nickelodeon is celebrating kids’ love for the action and excitement of the game with the launch of NickSports--a brand-new primetime programming block debuting Wednesday, Sept. 3, on Nicktoons. In the wake of Nick’s success with its inaugural Kids’ Choice Sports awards show this summer, this new, two-hour weekly block will feature a mix of original and acquired long- and short-form content from professional sports leagues NFL, MLS and NASCAR; new episodes of Nicktoons’ hit animated series Wild Grinders from Rob Dyrdek and NFL RUSH ZONE; documentary programming, including the world TV premiere of the acclaimed Little Ballers; and acquired theatrical movies. NickSports will air on Nicktoons Wednesdays from 9–11p.m. (ET). “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, Nicktoons, TeenNick and Nick Jr. “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 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. At launch, league contributions for the NickSports block will include:
- National Football League (NFL)
- NFL RUSH, a brand-new, action packed half-hour magazine-format show (15 episodes) from NFL Films featuring NFL highlights, bloopers, trivia, the science of football, players off the field and throwback moments in NFL history.
- A brand-new half-hour countdown show (NFL RUSH Follies and NFL RUSH Top 10s; 6 episodes) from NFL Films featuring the classic top ten-themed programs including follies and other great NFL moments.
- More third-season premieres of the animated NFL RUSH ZONE franchise, a co-production by Nickelodeon and the NFL. Based on the NFL’s online world for kids, the series follows kid protagonist Ishmael and his friends, the Guardians, on a journey to protect the league’s 32 teams and the world from a plotting master villain.
- Major League Soccer (MLS)
- A variety of acquired short-form segments including: Mike Magee's Day Off, a hilarious movie-trailer-esque nod to the timeless classic, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, starring reigning MLS MVP Mike Magee; MLS Insider episode, "Thierry Henry: A Legend,” a tribute to the career of the global soccer superstar; exclusive sit-down interviews and trivia challenges with stars from MLS and the 2014 World Cup U.S. Men’s National Team, including DeAndre Yedlin and Kyle Beckerman; as well as Anatomy of a Goal, GoalKeeper Trick Shots, and MLS Top 5.
- Hammer Down, a brand-new docu-series (4 episodes) profiling the next generation of NASCAR drivers.
- Brand-new, short-form vignettes covering NASCAR initiatives such as exploring the principles of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) as they relate to racing.
- More second-season premieres of Wild Grinders: Rob Dyrdek’s Wild Grinders is a kickin’ animated comedy about Lil Rob, a quick-thinking skater kid. The series also features Lil Rob’s talking right-hand dog Meaty (inspired by Dyrdek’s bull-dog of the same name), his best friend Goggles, and their middle school skate crew, the Wild Grinders. Currently in its second season, Wild Grinders follows the friends and their escapades around their hometown of Sprawl City and at their beloved skate spot, The Lot.
- Third-season premieres of the animated NFL RUSH ZONE franchise.
- The world TV premiere of Little Ballers: Making its world TV premiere in the NickSports block, Little Ballers is a two-hour documentary set against the backdrop of New York City, shining a spotlight on the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) as a feeding ground to potential NBA stardom. Featuring interviews with NBA and WNBA stars including Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Steve Nash, Russell Westbrook, Joakim Noah, Walt Frazier, Tyson Chandler, J.R. Smith and Chamique Holdsclaw, Little Ballers follows four 11-year-old boys and their legendary coach as they set out to win an AAU National Championship. For these boys, basketball is more than a game; it offers them hope. The movie is directed by Crystal McCrary and executive produced by Lupe Fiasco and Stoudemire.
- More Than a Game (2008): This documentary follows NBA superstar LeBron James and four of his talented teammates through the trials and tribulations of high school basketball in Akron, Ohio, and James' journey to fame.
- The Year of the Yao (2004): This documentary chronicles the first year of basketball player Yao Ming in the United States.
- Bend it Like Beckham, Space Jam, Cool Runnings, Speed Racer and more.
Nickelodeon has established relationships over the years with major sports leagues and world-class athletes. This includes partnering on pro-social initiatives such as NFL PLAY 60, athletes appearing in PSAs and sports activations at the network’s Worldwide Day of Play events, in addition to the first-ever Kids’ Choice Sports awards show this summer.Kids’ Choice Sports, which garnered 2.7 million total viewers (L+7) and was hosted by Michael Strahan ( LIVE with Kelly and Michael, Fox NFL Sunday), featured an all-star lineup of sports superstars from the NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS and NHL, along with Olympic athletes. David Beckham was presented with the Legend Award and additional show participants included: Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, Gabby Douglas, Larry Fitzgerald, Earl Thomas III, Henrik Lundqvist, Marshawn Lynch, Carmelo Anthony, Floyd Mayweather, Tony Hawk, Russell Westbrook, Victor Cruz, Bethany Hamilton, Russell Wilson and Lisa Leslie. Nicktoons has the highest concentration of B2–11 across all television and offers programming such as the NFL RUSH ZONE franchise, Rob Dyrdek’s Wild Grinders, Dragon Ball GT, the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise, the Digimon franchise and the Power Rangers franchise as well as a roster of hits that have defined kids’ and animation lovers’ TV, including Avatar: The Last Airbender, Invader Zim, Danny Phantom, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Fairly OddParents, and The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius. Nicktoons currently reaches almost 68 million homes via cable, digital cable and satellite. For more information or artwork, visit http://www.nickpress.com. Nicktoons and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB).