The NFL is trying to get 'em while they're young

babynfl.jpgBetween the chips and beer, you might want to stick some juice boxes and Cheerios before settling in to watch the game.

Viewership among kids under 12 jumped 30 percent during the NFL's first week, the largest increase among any age group, according to Nielsen numbers reported in the Wall Street Journal. Now, that only makes 8 percent of the NFL audience, but...

A tracking survey conducted by the league found that 60% of the most avid NFL fans became engaged with the sport during elementary school, while the majority of casual fans, who aren't as freakishly obsessed, got interested in the sport later.

The NFL has been aggressively pursuing this demographic through an online game for kids as young as six years old, a Nicktoons cartoon about a San Diego Chargers fan and a grants program which awards money to schools that show the most pride.

But even if the NFL does capture a large portion of the young demographic, it may take a while to see any financial gains from it.

Larry Gerbrandt, a ratings analyst at Media Valuation Partners in Los Angeles, says [...] "Any viewership is helpful for the NFL, but you're not going to start selling more Budweiser."

Make sure junior sticks to his sippy cups and away from the Bud.

Photo: Baylen Brees, son of Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints, in full NFL immersion at Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

About the author

Daryl Paranada is the associate web producer for Marketplace overseeing all daily website content and production, as well as producing multimedia features -- including the popular economic explainer series Whiteboard -- and special projects. Follow him on Twitter @darylparanada.

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