In recent years, we have seen the NFL do kid-friendly broadcasts of games on Nickelodeon and a Toy Story-themed broadcast in recent weeks as well. Should NASCAR try the same thing? Would it make sense, and who could they do it with?
Why Would NASCAR Want to Do This?
It’s no secret that NASCAR needs to find creative ways to reach younger audiences. Many fans became fans because they were introduced to the sport as young kids. Nowadays, technology allows sports to get more creative with how they try to reach young kids.
One way to get the sport in front of kids is to put it on networks they watch. These broadcasts can be tailor-made for kids to watch. The sport has the opportunity to explain the basics of the sport and show it off to a young audience.
The NFL has done this with games on Nickelodeon and the Toy Story broadcast on Disney Plus. It’s a way to get the sport in front of the kids without them having to seek it out. Under most circumstances, these potential fans would have to either stumble across the sport by chance or seek it out.
Who Could NASCAR Do It With?
NASCAR has partnered with kids TV network properties before, primarily Nickelodeon. Nickelodeon characters have sponsored races before. This most recently happened in 2017 with the Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Spongebob SquarePants has been a title sponsor for a race we all, most recently in 2015 at Kansas Speedway.
Now, the complication is that Nickelodeon is a Paramount-owned TV network, and no Paramount entity broadcasts NASCAR. That is part of why a Nickelodeon NFL broadcast became a thing. Although, NASCAR went so far as to imagine a Nickelodeon broadcast on their website back in 2021.
It’s possible that NASCAR could develop something like this on their own. Maybe they could put kids race broadcast on something like Peacock or The CW, but, that could defeat the purpose of finding new fans. It may be tough to get this to work out business-wise, but there is at least some relationship with Nickelodeon. That is the most likely place this could go.
How Could It Work?
The fun part is how could NASCAR find a creative way to broadcast a race for kids. There are a few things that are absolute musts for NASCAR to include.
Explain The Rules and Terminology as Clearly and Concisely as They Can
The most important aspect of a kids-oriented broadcast would be to explain the rules as easily as possible. Yes, the basic concept of racing is very simple as the first racer to the finish line wins. However, NASCAR will have to explain the concept of the Playoffs, stage racing, pit road penalties, the concept of loose and tight, etc.
Now, they need to balance the information overload with it also being easy to follow. They need to make sure the kids understand what is happening, and they need to present it in a fun and exciting way. Nickelodeon NFL broadcast used slime cannons, a young Sheldon Cooper popping up to explain penalties, and the commentators filling the audience in.
Highlight the Right Parts of the Sport
NASCAR needs to be careful about what types of the sport they highlight for kids. For example, drivers are not always very nice on the radio, so, they need to be careful which radio chatter they highlight on a broadcast like this. NASCAR also needs to be careful how they highlight crashes.
They need to underline that they are dangerous, but also highlight how incredibly safe the cars are. It also may be ill-advised to over-emphasize the crashes because of how dangerous they can be.
Make it Fun
Not every NASCAR race is going to be a complete banger, but a kids’ broadcast race doesn’t have to be. There is a way to make the broadcast exciting even if the race does not deliver. The NFL did that with the Nickelodeon and Toy Story broadcasts.
Make sure the commentators are having fun, and that they are not taking themselves too seriously. They could even add in a celebrity analyst who is famous on that kids’ network similar to what the NFL did on Nickelodeon. The broadcast needs to be fun so that it keeps the attention of those that NASCAR wants to bring in.
A kids’ NASCAR broadcast could be an interesting idea should NASCAR make it happen. It may have. to wait until the next TV contract, but, it could give NASCAR a way to reach a younger audience.