Super Bowl LVIII is finally here, and it will be special. Indeed, Paramount+ will offer for the first time a family broadcast of the NFL championship game. The popular Nickelodeon broadcast of NFL holiday games will head to Allegiant Stadium for Super Bowl 58 between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs. The big game premiered today and is streaming on CBS and Nickelodeon, as well as Paramount+.
On the occasion of its 25th anniversary, the cast of SpongeBob SquarePants will highlight the Nickelodeon cover. SpongeBob (voiced by Tom Kenny) and Patrick Star (voiced by Bill Fagerbakke) will join CBS Sports analyst Nate Burleson and play-by-play announcer Noah Eagle to call the game. Sandy Cheeks (voiced by Carolyn Lawrence) will join the group as a sideline reporter.
The beloved SpongeBob SquarePants cartoon has been the most-watched animated series for 21 years running, making this alternative Super Bowl show one to watch. This isn’t the first foray into the broadcast spectrum for Fagerbakke, who had a viral moment making his broadcast debut in the NickMas game in 2022.
“It was just kind of a response from me to all the endless anecdotes and details that we as sports fans delve into,” Fagerbakke told CBS Sports, laughing as he relived the moment. “That was a really nice quote a few years ago about Russell Wilson just letting Russ cook, so that came out. I appreciated that the Rams weren’t horrible (Fagerbakke is a Rams fan).
“We’re all concerned about the Bikini Bottom bubbles, Jeff,” Kenny added.
How to watch Super Bowl LVIII
Date: Sunday February 11 | Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
Location: Allegiant Stadium (Las Vegas)
TV: CBS, Nickelodeon | Flow: Paramount+
Follow: CBS Sports app
Kenny will join Fagerbakke in the broadcast booth for this one, as SpongeBob joins the Nickelodeon family show for the first time. SpongeBob himself couldn’t contain his level of excitement at this opportunity.
“It’s awesome! I’ve done motion capture before, but I’ve never been part of the biggest live sporting event on Earth,” Kenny said. “It’s going to be a ball, we’re just going to play an impromptu character.
“You just have to be SpongeBob, look around, see what’s happening and make stupid jokes about it in real time. That’s how I’ve spent my whole 61-year life, just looking around and making dub jokes about stuff!
“What could possibly go wrong? Don’t answer that!”
Will SpongeBob make people laugh, his trademark? This will be more difficult to achieve with motion capture.
“I don’t know. You just brought up an interesting thing that I just thought of,” Kenny said. “In order for me to laugh, I have to cheat with my hands (laughs). Does that mean SpongeBob’s hand goes to SpongeBob’s Adam’s apple? there one?
“You can’t do that when we’re on the air,” Fagerbakke added. “We won’t always be in the frame!”
“Since it’s motion capture, whatever my body does – SpongeBob’s body does,” Kenny said. “I’m going to have to pick my moments. I was feeling pretty good about it until you destroyed the confidence I had!”
Just like a live sporting event, there is preparation but not rehearsal when covering a football match. SpongeBob and Patrick practiced motion capture, but the game itself will play out similarly to Jim Nantz, Tony Romo and Tracy Wolfson on CBS.
“When you say repeated, that implies we heard,” Kenny joked. “We didn’t pre-listen, hear or rehearse! All this real-time stuff, that’s what sportscasters do all the time. We’re just doing what they do, but in a dumber way .”
What can viewers expect when watching the match? There will be “Sweet Victory” performed before the match, the popular SpongeBob song played at the end of “Band Geeks,” which is arguably the most popular episode in the show’s 25-year history.
This is also Kenny’s favorite episode.
“It kind of ties into the Super Bowl,” Kenny said. “This time you won’t get to look at Adam Levine’s six-pack while watching him! Not that I’m sitting around obsessively watching SpongeBob, but if I’m on a plane and I see a kid looking at it. I’m kind of like, ‘Hey hey.’
“Band Geeks is the one.”
In addition to Kenny’s SpongeBob laugh, Lawrence said he can’t wait to talk about the Travis Kelce-Taylor Swift relationship. “I know I’m going to have to say that Taylor’s man is hotter than a hickory smoked sausage!” Lawrence laughed while referencing the famous Sandy Cheeks line.
SpongeBob SquarePants has had 277 episodes over 25 seasons since its debut on July 17, 1999. The series has captivated multiple generations of fans and is one of the world’s most valuable entertainment franchises.
“Thanks to SpongeBob, I found myself in places I never thought I could be: on Broadway, waving a checkered flag at a NASCAR race, at the Super Bowl. The memories continue to come come back,” Kenny said. “I’m so excited to be a part of the Super Bowl, but I’m even more excited to know that when the game is over, everything went well, and we’ll relax and remember it – in a positive way!
“Every time a young adult says to me, ‘Thank you for my childhood,’ my heart gets all mushy,” Fagerbakke said. “It’s a fantastic experience to have.”
No matter what happens on Super Bowl Sunday, SpongeBob, Patrick and Sandy will have fun. Family-friendly streaming of NFL games has been a hit since its inception during the 2020 season, and there’s a reason why.
“It was a revelation for me last year. This incredible concept of gladiator and spectator. They can have fun!” Fagerbakke said. “How much fun they had and how much they were able to enjoy it.
“The whole CBS Sports team is so good and so excited to do this. Why? Because it’s stupid. They can make a different kind of football game.”