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NFL launches plan to attract kids to stadiums

For more than 20 years, the NFL has developed its next generation of fans via EA’s Madden franchise, a pro football simulation that attracts kids to the sport like a house made of candy — and teaches most of them better clock-management skills than many NFL head coaches possess.

Now, the league will try to attract America’s youth to the various houses made of money.

The NFL has created a cartoon series that will debut on Nicktoons, a cable channel owned by Nickelodeon, which in turn is owned by Viacom, one of the few entertainment conglomerates that doesn’t televise NFL games.  (Yet.)

First reported by Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal on Monday and officially announced later in the day by the league, Rush Zone:  Guardians of the Core focuses on the exploits of “Ish” — short for Ishmael, and also a common slang alternative for one of the seven words that can’t be said on television.  The 22-episode series consists of two-to-five-minute shorts, culminating in a one-hour episode that will premiere the day before the Super Bowl.

In Rush Zone, Ish learns that “all 32 NFL stadiums” (at last count, there were only 31) “serve as secret strongholds of an otherwordly benevolent life force that he has been chosen to guard.”  The villain, Sudden Death, wants to find the pieces of the “life force,” reassemble them, and end humanity.

Sure, it sounds far fetched.  Almost as far fetched as an effeminate sponge that lives in a pineapple next to the magic oil fountain.

The show is based on NFLRush Zone, an online role-playing game with 2 million registered users.

We don’t fault the NFL for coming up with ways to attract more kids to its product.  It’s good business.  Indeed, at a time when the NFL is concerned about making sure that folks still continue to choose coming to the stadium in lieu of watching games at home, there’s no better way to do it than to get kids to pester their parents to take them to the “secret strongholds” of the “life force” that they see on the same televisions that their folks otherwise use to watch football games.

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40 Responses to “NFL launches plan to attract kids to stadiums”
  1. jj jones says: Jun 29, 2010 11:56 AM

    “In Rush Zone, Ish learns that “all 32 NFL stadiums” (at last count, there were only 31) ”
    SkyDome?

  2. mcarey032 says: Jun 29, 2010 11:56 AM

    So what do you say to your child when he or she hears drunken and profanity laced tirades from fans? What character would they be on the show?

  3. BleedGreen says: Jun 29, 2010 11:57 AM

    Why? They’d have to work all summer to MAYBE afford 1 ticket.

  4. KILLER FIN says: Jun 29, 2010 11:57 AM

    Bring the prices down to go to the games!!! Concessions are rediculous!!!

  5. The Real Shuxion says: Jun 29, 2010 12:01 PM

    The villain, Sudden Death, wants to find the pieces of the “life force,” reassemble them, and end humanity.
    ——————————————————
    His henchmen are:
    Mike Vick (Boss Dog)
    Ben Roethisberger (D-cup)
    James Harrison (Needle)
    Brandon Underwood (The payman)
    Sean Payton (The Popper)
    Sean Salisbury (Dong Master)
    and the entire Raiders roster (Basically foot soldiers)

  6. NationalFelonLeague.com © says: Jun 29, 2010 12:05 PM

    When Ishmael visits the 0-3gles will he be wearing an opposing teams jersey so 0-3gles fan can pour beer on him. Might as well make the show somewhat realistic so kids know what to expect.

  7. wowbaka says: Jun 29, 2010 12:11 PM

    How can average joes bring their kids to the stadium when it costs so much, especially since secondary markets for the tickets are way too much. It’s such an easy decision to stay at home and watch NFL games in the comfort of your own homes than spending hundreds to a few thousand dollars?

  8. BirdFlu says: Jun 29, 2010 12:12 PM

    Are they planning to park a “Candy Van” outside each stadium entrance?

  9. DanSnyderSux says: Jun 29, 2010 12:13 PM

    KILLER FIN says:
    June 29, 2010 11:57 AM
    Bring the prices down to go to the games!!! Concessions are rediculous!!!
    +1

  10. clevefan4life says: Jun 29, 2010 12:15 PM

    As sad as it is to say, I would NEVER bring my child to a game. Adults acting like drunken a-holes is not something I want my kid to see. I’d have to wIt until they are like 13 or 14 so that they can at least understand the difference between acting like a tool and being respectful of those around you.

  11. Empire Jones says: Jun 29, 2010 12:16 PM

    No, it’s only 31 b/c the Jets and Giants share a house…
    If the NFL wants to attact kids, get rid of the beer and offer 1/2 price kids tix. That’s right… ROFLMAO!!!

  12. Marv_Sleezy says: Jun 29, 2010 12:20 PM

    My childhood was ruined when they took out intentional late hits and the on field ambulance on Madden – The game hasnt been the same since.
    Did you know there are over 25 different button combos just for goal celebrations on FIFA?

  13. GBfanForever says: Jun 29, 2010 12:24 PM

    Are they going to use Big Ben in the promotion? He’s good at attracting kids

  14. bigrig says: Jun 29, 2010 12:25 PM

    If it’s on Nicktoons, 95% of the posters on PFT.com will definitely see it.

  15. DEMOLITION says: Jun 29, 2010 12:27 PM

    Hey NFL
    You want to attract more kids (ahem, $$$$ and future business)?
    Lower your damn prices. You can spend half a grand just taking a family of 4 to a game.
    At least require the preseason games significantly lower. The premium players aren’t even playing, why should we pay premium dollars?

  16. clevefan4life says: Jun 29, 2010 12:28 PM

    I would also like to add that as a Browns fan, we’ve been labeled as some of the rudest fans in football. I hate the fact that as a Browns fan, that I am guilty by association.

  17. EverybodyGotAIDS says: Jun 29, 2010 12:36 PM

    Kids ruin sporting events. I should say that the parents of kids ruin sporting events. I’M GOING TO GET DRUNK AND ACT LIKE AN IDIOT. SO ARE 50 THOUSAND OTHER PEOPLE. That’s part of the allure. If you can’t explain to your kids that drinking is fun and cool, and that the purpose of seeing a sporting event live (where the view is better on TV) is to get drunk with a bunch of other people and cheer like monkeys, don’t bring them along.

  18. Complete Fan says: Jun 29, 2010 12:52 PM

    “SkyDome?”
    Hey, don’t forget Wembley.

  19. Complete Fan says: Jun 29, 2010 12:56 PM

    “We don’t fault the NFL for coming up with ways to attract more kids to its product. It’s good business.”
    The next one will be an educational toolkit for middle-school teachers which educate the youngsters how the point spead works and why you have to draft a running back if you have one of the first 10 picks in your league’s draft.

  20. Rothlestool says: Jun 29, 2010 12:56 PM

    What the hell is a Raiders experience going to teach children? How to act like a total idiot in front of your family and friends. How to get drunk early in life and act like a total moron when your team is down 24-0 in the first quarter. Watch as your IQ goes down by the quarter from the intelligent talk of the Raider Nation. Learn new swear words and understand that assault is a basic freedom among Raider Fans. Swear fealty to Al Davis.

  21. gr8fully says: Jun 29, 2010 1:02 PM

    If the NFL wants more kids at the games then they’d need to do away with all beers sales, so they’d have a few kids show up but nobody else….not to mention that the cost of going to a game is more than most parents can afford to pay. All in all, I’ll stay home and watch on my big tv, no drunks to deal with, and when the little ones attention begins to fade, they can go upstairs and watch spongebob.

  22. Reggie'sBush says: Jun 29, 2010 1:04 PM

    Are they offering part time jobs to kids to work at the concession stands? Maybe walk around cleaning up after tailgates?

  23. VoxVagina says: Jun 29, 2010 1:05 PM

    I thought the actual game would have been enough to attract kids to stadiums

  24. ErikInHell says: Jun 29, 2010 1:07 PM

    I suspect that the evil “Sudden Death” looks just like art modell.

  25. birdmancometh says: Jun 29, 2010 1:14 PM

    “If it’s on Nicktoons, 95% of the posters on PFT.com will definitely see it.”
    Thats some good stuff right there. Very well done sir.

  26. ZombieRevolution says: Jun 29, 2010 1:22 PM

    “…and teaches most of them better clock-management skills than many NFL head coaches possess.”
    For a guy that makes as many typos and journalistic problems as PFT, Florio can’t afford to make fun of the guys who actually have the skills to coach a sport he only reports about.

  27. msnyder275 says: Jun 29, 2010 1:23 PM

    “serve as secret strongholds of an otherwordly benevolent life force that he has been chosen to guard”
    You mean idiot fans who overindulge, pick fights and go bare-chested in January.
    And then you have EverybodygotAIDS…the essense of otherworldy benevolent life force.
    And I quote…
    “If you can’t explain to your kids that drinking is fun and cool…”
    Dude, you put the ass in class.

  28. jj jones says: Jun 29, 2010 1:27 PM

    Walking Death could be Al Davis.

  29. GOVIKES|GOVIKES says: Jun 29, 2010 1:29 PM

    Gotta get those kids started early on their corporate indoctrination.

  30. jb10 says: Jun 29, 2010 1:36 PM

    i’ll say it again. lower the prices.
    the average joe cannot attend by himself much less a family

  31. fatediesel says: Jun 29, 2010 1:45 PM

    “The NFL has created a cartoon series that will debut on Nicktoons, a cable channel owned by Nickelodeon, which in turn is owned by Viacom, one of the few entertainment conglomerates that doesn’t televise NFL games. (Yet.)”
    CBS used to be part of Viacom until it split off in 2005. National Amusements (aka Sumner Redston) is the largest shareholder of both CBS Corporation and Viacom and Redstone is the chairman of both companies, so in large part Viacom does televise the NFL through CBS and Inside the NFL on Showtime.

  32. jackm1184 says: Jun 29, 2010 1:50 PM

    CBS is a part of the Viacom family. They televise NFL games…

  33. ErikInHell says: Jun 29, 2010 1:52 PM

    They get the early indoctrination from Sesame Street and other corporate kiddie shows.

  34. giantcatfanhouse says: Jun 29, 2010 3:23 PM

    Make that 30 teams, since the Jags have already announced “Forget the kids, we want season ticket holders”.

  35. johanneschimpo says: Jun 29, 2010 3:25 PM

    Children don’t belong at sporting events. Just a couple weeks ago some lady was breastfeeding her kid right next to me while I yelled at Milton Bradley for being insane.

  36. Wellsee says: Jun 29, 2010 3:35 PM

    I wouldn’t take my kid to a game even if the ticket was free. Not with the way too many people at the games act.

  37. Calir says: Jun 29, 2010 3:52 PM

    The NFL experience at the stadium is built for adults and there is nothing wrong with that and there is no way to change it at this point. Few parents want to shell out the kind of money it takes to go to an NFL game so their kid can nag them to leave at halftime.

  38. Diomedes says: Jun 29, 2010 4:38 PM

    For more than 20 years, the NFL has developed its next generation of fans via EA’s Madden franchise, a pro football simulation that attracts kids to the sport like a house made of candy — and teaches most of them better clock-management skills than many NFL head coaches possess.
    Yeah, I am looking at you, Andy Reid.

  39. Patrick says: Jun 30, 2010 12:08 PM

    The N.F.L. priced out the average family a few years ago …Too worried about building sky boxes,suites, etc..

  40. Bious says: Jun 30, 2010 5:14 PM

    Unless the kids have loads of cash in their backpacks, this will fail miserably

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