The Super Bowl, Spectacle or Sport?

February 15, 2014 12:00 pm308 comments
Photo by: Anthony Quintano

Photo by: Anthony Quintano

A television record 111.5 million people watched the Seattle Seahawks stomp the Broncos in Super Bowl 48, 43-8. It was tied for the third largest margin of victory in Super Bowl history, yet still more than one-third of the US population sat down and watched this game.

Now why is this? Football is overwhelmingly the most popular sport in the US. Every Sunday a huge portion of the population hunker down on their couches to enjoy some football, but it is nowhere near the record breaking level the Super Bowl achieves each year. Why? Well, Super Bowl Sunday is no longer an event marked down on sport fanatic’s calendars. It is an all-encompassing borderline national holiday. Every year, no matter which teams are involved people get giddy with excitement for the first Sunday in February.

The Super bowl draws on many different aspects which make it an irresistible event, even for the people with the least sports interest to enjoy. It does so in mainly four ways:


As human beings our natural instincts yearn for competition and to see the best of the best rise to the top. With the ideology of the Super Bowl being that the best is squaring off against the best, our primal instincts kick in, and people become glued to the television for a gladiator-like performance of the stars.


Everybody knows that the best of all advertising happens during the Super Bowl. Many people will say they only watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. So it becomes one of the few events each year in which people look forward to commercials and tune in for them.

The Halftime Show

The Halftime Show is key to drawing in those with waning interests in football. Whether it be Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Beyonce, The Rolling Stones, or Bruno Mars, seeing stars perform at halftime draws massive attention. This year the total number of people watching the Super bowl, increased by just under 3.8 million people for Bruno Mars’ and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ performance. Just a ten minute performance brought more people to watch, than the entire populations of Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana combined.

Promotion, Promotion, Promotion

The NFL has all year, and then when the two teams are decided for the Super Bowl a full two weeks prior to promote and cover the Super Bowl. It is one of the most glorified sporting events in the world.

The marketing value of the name Super Bowl itself has become such a money making title, that the NFL has trademarked it. If the phrase Super Bowl is ever used in any marketing campaign without the written consent of the NFL, they will be sued. People still try to capitalize on it however; “Big Game” sales run rampant each year as the Super bowl approaches. It does spawn some fun knock-off like Stephen Colbert’s “Superb Owl” event on his Colbert Report and on a more local level, 93.3WMMR’s morning talk show (and my personal favorite) Preston & Steve did one of their own called the “Soup’ Bowl” which involved them eating vast/large quantities of soup.

The Super Bowl draws our attention unlike any other televised event. So much so that the Super Bowl has become a spectacle in which the entertainment outweighs the actual sport being played. With its promise of unmatched competition, quality commercials, musical performance, and the ungodly promotion, it is no wonder that the Super Bowl is and will continue to be the largest drawing event on television each year.


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