Attending a Super Bowl festival has become a holiday ritual in America! It’s about sports spirit, entertainment, revenue, and cultural gala. Launched over half a century ago, the sports league now looks like a quasi-religious party for the entire US landscape. Americans alter their daily routine to accommodate the day for the annual championship.
Let’s get insight into the American culture through the lens of the Super Bowl league.
How Did America’s Biggest Football Event Start?
15 January 1967 marked the merger of the American Football League (AFL) and the National Football League (NFL). This conglomeration kickstarted the country’s biggest sporting event. However, the championship game got its popular name – “Super Bowl,” after the third season in 1969.
Over 90,000 viewers reached Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to watch the first annual championship game. The ticket price for the AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs vs. NFL’s Green Bay Packers match ranged between $6 and $12.
At that time, the National Broadcasting System (NBC) and Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) broadcasted the final game, which got 60 million viewers. However, the television networks featured no commercials during Super Bowl I.
Today, the evolved version of the national football championship season evokes pride and revenue. Rest is history.
Humongous Television Broadcasting
93% of US households owned a TV by 1967. So the Super Bowl league began when the influence of television in American society was at its peak. Since Americans loved watching grand events communally, NFL capitalized on this organic growth by broadcasting the final football match.
The viewership numbers were good right from the onset. Limited seat availability in the stadium during the seventies also increased the number of television audiences for the big game. However, the figures only kept improving with each passing year.
For instance, NBC reported that Super Bowl XLIX garnered around 114.4 million. For years, the annual championship has been topping the list of most-watched American TV programs.
The Super Bowl Party
No other sport in America parallels the magnitude of celebratory spirit than the annual Super Bowl party. Like other national festivals, people gather for the common purpose of celebrating the spectacle. Businesses shut down as everyone gets into the party mood.
Different US states or households may adopt variations to celebrate this national festival. For instance, exchanging one fried food for another. Nevertheless, the charm and energy are the same during the Super Bowl party throughout the nation. Wearing the team jerseys, eating wings, chips, pizza, and drinking beer are staples at the national level celebration. Undoubtedly, the citizens show unmatched uniformity during the mega event.
The second Sunday of February is also a big day for gambling enthusiasts due to the annual championship league. As betting is rapidly becoming part of the American culture, the global betting market includes bets or betting sites for the Super Bowl. According to the American Gaming Association, US bettors presumably placed an estimated $7.6 billion wagers in Super Bowl 2022. This sports betting culture will only thrive after legalization in 10 US states.
Instills Feeling of Patriotism
Further, the NFL turned the event into a celebration of the country by building a close relationship with the US military. In the 1968 Super Bowl, the NFL’s commissioner collaborated with a World War II veteran, Pete Rozelle, to organize the military flyover. Next year, the NFL gave the “America Thanks” theme to its famous halftime show.
The fly-overs of military aircraft and patriotic songs with ostentatious displays of red, blue, and white create a sense of nationalism in everyone. No other sport in the world plans an annual event with this level of devotion depicting the country’s patriotism other than the Super Bowl. Although still not an official holiday, Americans truly celebrate Super Bowl Sunday as the national day.
This patriotism is evident even today in various seasons, such as after the 9/11 attack. Hence, Super Bowl also reflects the patriotic side of Americans. Besides, internationally renowned artists contest to sing the national anthem on a stage. The list includes names like Billy Joel, Neil Diamond, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Backstreet Boys, Mariah Carey, and many more.
Lastly, inclusions and diversity also play an integral role during the mega football event these days. From promoting minority and female-led businesses to highlighting issues like “Black Lives Matter,” the Super Bowl covers everything. NFL wants to break down the social barriers in the nation through such initiatives. The goal is to enhance the multicultural environment in the US.
With the ever-growing Super Bowl viewership, Super Bowl became a marketing hub for various brands. The event is an ideal source to target a broad multi-ethnic audience for their product and services. There has also been competition among companies to get advertisement slots on broadcasting channels.
Moreover, a study reveals that a significant fraction of the audience watches the game on TV specifically for those commercials. Hence, big brands don’t hesitate to spend millions of dollars on sponsorships and advertisements. Sponsors paid an average of $6.5 million for 30 seconds ad slots to broadcasters during the Super Bowl LVI, as per the Statista study.
Some of the highest marketing costs of brands are:
● PepsiCo – $174 million
● Walt Disney – $73.9 million
● Coca-Cola – $66.8 million
● Viacom – $45.9 million
● Hyundai – $38.8 million
While several brands apply a witty approach, others convey a social message like gender equality and religious diversity through their commercials. Eventually, as the ads became more omnipresent, so did the sports event.
The Super Bowl event connects families and friends who enjoy the finals in the living room, stadium, or restaurants. It’s now a symbol of national identity, exuding the qualities of an American holiday. Through this extravagant festival, the rest of the world can view America’s diverse and social culture from close.
Today, Super Bowl is one of the most lucrative and influential multicultural sports events, with a multi-billion dollar industrial revenue. Undoubtedly, its legacy will only grow for the years to come.