Why The Super Bowl is a Social and Cultural Phenomenon


On Sunday February 5th, the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons will meet in Houston, Texas for Super Bowl 51. While it is the biggest game of the year, it is also one of the the largest television events of the year.

The Super Bowl, regardless of which teams end up matched up in it, has become a phenomenon outside of the world of football and sports in general. It is a cultural event unlike anything else we have in America. The progression the game has taken is both logical and insane.

As football surpassed baseball as the top sport in the United States, it goes to figure that football’s title game would hold greater sway. However, that transformation has seemed exponential rather than linear. As football has grown, everything surrounding the Super Bowl has grown as well.

Halftime of the Super Bowl is one of the biggest music concerts in the world each year. Commercials throughout the game are the biggest ticket in the medium, as costs are exceeding $5 million for an ad this year, and gambling surrounding the big game is the largest money maker of the year.

The degree to which the game has developed seems unreal, and all areas related to it becoming a huge part of the game. The sport of football lends itself perfectly to gambling and fantasy sports with its weekly nature, making the biggest game a large gambling draw. Because of that, sports-books feel the need to extend the wagers offered for the contest. Things have grown from final score predictions and over/under bets to what we have today: yardage totals, national anthem lengths, Gatorade bath colors, etc. Anything that can be bet on is available because this is the Super Bowl!

The commercial aspect followed a similar path with ad space for the game on television becoming the best available spot with the most eyeballs tuned in each year. The same goes for halftime performances and concerts surrounding the game. And as those two genres of “entertainment” took off, the Super Bowl began to collect non-football and non-sports fans as well. Suddenly, the game offered something to that group of previously underappreciated party-goers. Thus, the big game has grown into the big event it is and on the borderline of a national holiday. Almost everyone in the United States either has or attends a Super Bowl party on Sunday, whether or not they even watch football.

Each city that hosts the Super Bowl feels this power as well. A two-week extravaganza takes place in the host city, with media and fans flooding hotels, restaurants, and tourist spots. Super Bowl media day is its own event that draws interest from journalists and hosts who don’t even rely on football for content. The massive reach of this event is extensive and touches all departments. No one is spared.

So sit back relax and enjoy The Super Bowl…

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