Search This Blog

Saturday 17 February 2024

The Superbowl - More Popular than Ever? No! More expensive than ever.

It's interesting that the first Super Bowl took place on January 15, 1967. It was legendary coach Vincent Lombardi's last playoff game, and he was victorious. It's also the only Super Bowl to have been covered by more than one network—NBC and CBS, with CBS covering the NFL and NBC covering the AFL during the season. One notable fact is that a player participated in both Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II, the great, Hall-of-Famer Forrest Gregg, who would later coach the Cincinnati Bengals during the 1981/82 season, and lead them to the Superbowl that year.  This Superbowl, SBXVI, remains the most popular Super Bowl to this day, commanding a market share of 49.1% in the USA, with about 37% of the US population watching it.

It's worth noting, however, that while the recent Super Bowl was watched by an estimated 120 million people, making it heralded as the most popular ever, this claim is questionable. Back when Super Bowl I took place, the United States had a population of only about 195 million, and around 50 million people watched the game; and considering this was the very first Super Bowl, it is understandable that ONLY 50 million watched it on TV.  Additionally, Super Bowl I wasn't necessarily watched by many people as it was a novelty and not expected to be a close game, which it wasn't, thus people weren't as interested, with empty seats in the LA Colosseum.      

Now, with nearly 335 million people in the US, about 121.5 million supposedly watched the recent Super Bowl. Therefore, the increase in viewership isn't as significant as it may seem, and what is very interesting is that just a few years ago, less than 100 million were watching the game, which was only about 28% of the US population. 

Contrarily, the Super Bowl of the 1981-1982 season, Super Bowl 16 (with the great Joe Montana [above]) was far more popular. Despite what people may claim, the games prior to the mid-1990s were almost always more popular than they are today; with Household Share almost always in the 40s (Unlike just recently where this share number had fallen into the 30s!). 

It's intriguing to note that despite their decreased popularity, there's more money involved now than ever!  This can ONLY be attributed to the lack of competition, leading to oligopoly and monopoly in the market.

By money, I refer not to player's salaries, etc, but to the cost of a half-minute commercial.  I watched some of these this year for the first time in ages - as I watched the US broadcast networks screening.  And I can only say that some were simply dreadful!  $7 million for these?!  Let THAT sit in for a moment.

This is a significant statistic.  Initially, an advert for Super Bowl I only cost about $37,000 to $42,000 (per 1/2 minute). However, for the recent Super Bowl, it was between $6.5 and $7 million. Adjusted for inflation, this would have been equivalent to about $325,000 for a half-minute spot for the original Super Bowl. 

This indicates that while the Super Bowl may not be 20 times more popular now than it was in 1967, it's significantly more expensive. This trend reflects the broader state of the US economy; where it seems that the rich get richer, and the poor, . . . you know how that ends.


No comments:

Post a Comment