114.4 million television viewers. More than 10 billion dollars in revenue each season. More than 68,000 spectators per game. About four hours of television broadcast. This is Super Bowl
"In few words, what is the Super Bowl? Simply the safest bet of the communications industry”. The Super Bowl is the sports reference event in the United States. But what made him such a big success to the point of became an unofficial holiday?
By combining the media with the mass sports and entertainment, the Super Bowl has become a true empire.
The game was created from a merger agreement between the National Football League (NFL) and the American Football League (AFL). The champions teams of each league would play against each other in the AFL-NFL World Championship Game, until the merge in 1970.
After the official merger, each league was renamed by "Conference". The game has been played since then between the champion teams of each conference to determine the champion of NFL league.
So far, the National Football Conference (NFC) leads the championship with 26 wins, while the American Football Conference (AFC) has 23 wins.
THE CHAMPION OF ALL COMPETITIONS
In the first eight years, the Super Bowl has beaten the Kentucky Derby, an event with more than 100 years, and the World Series, whose existence dates back to 70 years, becoming the number one in US sports shows.
Called Super Bowl Sunday, this game is a day of increased food consumption in the US. In the first place is Thanksgiving Holiday.
Being a great show, the Super Bowl is the most watched event in all US television, breaking records every year. Only in 2015, the Super Bowl XLIX had an audience of 114.4 million viewers. Although the UEFA Champions League shows every year the largest number of audiences, the Super Bowl is overtaken by little.
Due to the large numbers of viewers, the advertising time during the Super Bowl is the most expensive of the year, outstanding the price of advertising on the Ceremony of the Academy Awards.
In 2015, an ad in the Super Bowl halftime had costs 4.5 million dollars for just 30 seconds of exposure. An amount that increases every year. For example, in 1967, the first game ever, the same advertising space had costs of $42,000.
However, in spite of the exorbitant Super Bowl numbers for the advertisers, the brands and the companies still gladly pay this advertisement space.
The truth is that the Super Bowl is not just a sports event. It is a show that in addition to join the sport of the masses, gathers crowds of people, mainly for its big bet on the entertainment. During the break that marks the half of the event – known as halftime show - the Super Bowl invites the biggest names from music for an unique show.
These stars include Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Whitney Houston, among many others.
This ceremony celebrates the connection of the event to pop culture, in an attempt to attract a higher television audience. As the game itself, the show was seen by about 118.5 million viewers in 2015.
One of the shows that got most media attention was undoubtedly the Super Bowl XXXVIII, in 2004. Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson were acting during the break of the game when the unexpected happened. A miscalculated feat by Timberlake has removed part of Jackson’s clothes and more was revealed than the bra of the singer.
Although the incident has been transmitted by the CBS in less than one second, the controversy was installed. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fined CBS for $550,000, a record never seen before
Quickly the discussion on indecency on television and censorship was brought to the surface. While some defended the FCC action, others had ridiculed the incident and didn't attribute importance to it. The attention was so much that the incident was called "Nipplegate". The case went to court and was canceled only in 2011.
It is estimated that 70% of US citizens are football fans, and half of this percentage are the truly fanatics of the sport. On average, these fans spend more than nine hours per week watching NFL, plus taking the sport very seriously. Swapping for kids: The Super Bowl is the blockbuster product that any brand or producer want to have.
We can ask ourselves what the key to all this success and how the NFL has grown over the years. Sellout crowds in euphoria, adults, children, young, old ... This whole apparatus accompanies a major logistics behind the event.
The NFL choose in advance which city will host each game, and a range of sponsored events and activities that takes over 10 days before the Sunday game, attracting tourists, fans and locals. Therefore, a far beyond the game event itself.
In the days preceding the day of the game, the host cities of the Super Bowl become a heaven for companies and brands, excited to promote and sell their products.
In this powerful dependency between the brands and the NFL, the American League it’s anything but innocent… Systematically accused of the most extravagant requests to the host cities, the NFL force the government to pay all the costs involved in the logistics of the event, as well as the construction and renovation of the private stadiums.
In return, the football league promises economic benefits over 600 million dollars to the host city. Perhaps the most striking attraction of the entire media apparatus around the Super Bowl Event is the Media Day.
Days before the big game on Sunday, the NFL does the Media Day, always sponsored by a brand, planned for journalists ... and beyond. Tickets are sold to fans attend the event. That is, you pay an amount to see journalists working.
On this day, the media are all present, where they are granted interviews with the players. Fans watch all the tumult, and are delivered to them gifts and premiums, fueling even more the powerful machine cycle behind the NFL and the Super Bowl.
THE BRANDING MISHAPS
Despite the rewards, not all are roses in this sport industry, and NFL has had its share of branding crisis. In 2004, the league had seen its popularity drop due to a series of scandals involving many of their players.
On February 15, 2014, Ray Rice finds himself involved in a discussion with his bride in Atlantic City, which ended in a physical assault. Four days later, TMZ reveals a security record that captured the scene: the NFL player assaults Janay Palmer with a punch, leaving her unconscious on the floor. The media went crazy. For months the case was widely discussed.
In the meantime, the NFL announced that the player had been suspended for two games. The heavy criticism didn’t long in coming.
Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the League, was attacked from all angles, as well as the role of the NFL throughout the process. In social networks, the UltraViolet organization that protects the rights of women and gender equality, even has created a hashtag #Goodellmustgo
On August 28, the NFL announces a new more rigid policy for domestic violence as well as other types of violent behavior.
Although Janay Palmer has defended the player during a press conference and Ray Rice have issued an apology, public opinion didn’t forget this episode.
In the same year, a few months after Ray Rice scandal, another NFL player, Adrian Peterson was accused of domestic violence against his son.
The alleged incident has occurred in May, but the player only surrendered to the authorities on September 13. Supposedly, the NFL would know what have happened some time ago, which again raised waves against the actions of the League and its Commissioner, Roger Goodell.
On average, almost 30 players are arrested for the season, for crimes ranging from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, aggression, murder and even false bomb threat.
Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson were just two examples that caused the cancellation of millionaires sponsorship contracts.
Whether good or bad reasons, NFL is always the cover of the American’s newspapers. And despite of all scandals, NFL continues to gain a huge visibility in the media context and will remain in the limelight. However, the bet of NFL in entertainment is what makes her one of the most lucrative sports events in the whole world.
NFL earned its prominent place in the media scene with the big game that ends the American football season. This success is due in part to the immense popularity of the sport in the US, and the crowds that this brings with it. However, the bet NFL in the entertainment and media, encompassing a true enclosure of appealing activities building a fizzy anticipation of Sunday's game, making this event one of the most profitable ever.
Attracting an entire nation and creating a very unique relation between media, companies, brands, fans, supporters and celebrities, the Super Bowl has become a true phenomenon.