One of the best things about any large television broadcast is the counter-programming, the things that other networks air to try and pull viewers to their channel. And things are no different for the 2019 Super Bowl. Other channels boast big movies and specials, anything to grab some interest when eyes turn away from the big game for just a few minutes. Two channels are hosting special, animal-themed sporting events again this year: Animal Planet with the Puppy Bowl and the Hallmark Channel with the Kitten Bowl. That latter one is newer and perhaps a bit lesser known, so here are six adorable facts about the kitten bowl, TV’s cutest Super Bowl diversion.
The Kitten Bowl will begin at 2 p.m. ET/ PT on The Hallmark Channel. This year it features four teams: Last Hope Lions, Little Longtails, North Shore Bengals, and Pouncy Panthers, according to the show’s info page. Fans can visit there to see all the kittens that will be playing, and even upload a photo of their own cat to create a player trading card.
One special aspect of the Kitten Bowl is its partnership with cat rescues across the nation; according to the site, it has inspired more than 25,000 adoptions since the events creation in 2014.
Beyond these adorable factoids, please enjoy six other facts about the Kitten Bowl.
It Was Inspired By The Puppy Bowl
The Puppy Bowl has been around since 2005 and is a favorite with sports fans as well as those who aren’t into watching the Super Bowl. The Kitten Bowl started in 2014 and was created in conjunction with North Shore Animal League America and Last Hope Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation, both in New York, according to Refinery 29.
It Boasts Nearly 100 Kittens
It takes a big roster of furry fluff to play in this league. In 2015 there were 92 kittens involved in the event, according to the Press of Atlantic City. If it’s filmed the same way that the Puppy Bowl is, then the kittens play for about 20 minutes at a time before taking a break, according to Variety, which reported that during that break they either play with volunteers or often nap. Awww, put a camera on napping kitties, please!
It Has Its Own League
The Feline Football League is the official league of the Kitten Bowl, according to The Daily Beast, complete with celebrity leadership. Former NFL star and Pro Bowl player Boomer Esiason is the honorary commissioner of the FLL. Hopefully the only things he’ll have to mediate in this world of sporting are some friendly wrestling matches.
It Has More Field Goals Than The Puppy Bowl
Though both the Puppy Bowl and the Kitten Bowl feature tiny goalposts, the Kitten Bowl players are much more likely to get a field goal. Here’s why: kittens can score them by simply jumping over the goalpost, the New York Daily News reported. I suppose puppies can too, but kitties are simply much more likely to do so! A puppy did once score a field goal when it tripped over a toy and sent it sailing between the uprights, the news outlet reported, but goals are much more often scored by carrying toys into the end zone.
It’s Hosted By An Experienced Animal Rescuer
Beth Stern is the host of the Kitten Bowl and it's not just a job to her, according to the Hallmark Channel. In her personal life, she has rescued and found homes for dozens of cats, alongside her husband, Howard Stern, as Us Weekly reported; they even have six of their own.
Hosting with Stern are Dean Cain and Rodney Peete, with commentary by Rashad Jennings and Boomer Esiason, according to TV Weekly Now.
It Promotes Rescues Across The Nation
Kitten and cat adoption events are held across the nation in conjunction with the Kitten Bowl. The Hallmark Channel provides a searchable database to find an event near you. Stern told the Press of Atlantic City what a joy it is for her “when I walk down the street people tell me how adorable Kitten Bowl is, or that they saw a cute black kitten on Kitten Bowl and they went to the local shelter and adopted a black cat."
The Kitten Bowl is just around the corner on Sunday, Feb. 3. Look for it on The Hallmark Channel followed immediately by the first ever Cat Bowl.