The Super Bowl, much more than the American football final: numbers that explain why it paralyzes the United States

Super Bowl LVII is held in Glendale, Arizona (Reuters)
Super Bowl LVII is held in Glendale, Arizona (Reuters)

Imagine about 110 million people going to the bathroom at the same time. They could cause a sewage disaster. That fear always existed in the United States until it became an alert before every Super Bowl, the American football final that paralyzes a country like no other event in the year. For a week before until this Sunday, when the Eagles de Philadelphia they face the Chiefs of Kansas City, practically nothing else is talked about. The champion of the most popular sport in the USA is defined in 60 net minutes and few dare to move from their seats in the four periods that the match lasts.

Of course, the moment is at halftime and just before the musical show that in this case will have Rihanna as a main course So, historically, many cities that have not invested as much in the sewer system request that fans do not go through the sewer system. toilette at the same time. Many believe it to be a myth, but it actually happened once: it was in Salt Lake City, in 1984, when old pipes gave way in Utah. Sure, then the phenomenon was studied. According to a graph of the company Rauto-rooter, the amount of water that goes down the toilets during halftime of the final is equivalent to seven minutes of water falling on Niagara Falls.

The New York Department of Environmental Protection had to make improvements to update its water distribution system, specifically in February, due to the Super Bowl. This is just one example of what this party generates, which is known to be much more than that. This is a show, a show, the leading event in the gigantic marketing machine that powers America when its biggest sports are played. In this case, the most popular. By far. To take dimension: Among the 100 most watched TV shows in 2022, there were 87 American football games against two from the World Cup and 0 (yes, zero), from the NBA, per case. And, if we talk about history, 8 of the 15 most viewed are these Superbowls.

We are talking about the second social event in the USA with the most consumption of food and beverages, behind Thanksgiving. During the known as Super Sundaypeople gather with family or friends to see it raising the total spending to 14.5 billion dollars. A year ago, 5,352,400 kilos of French fries, 1,814,300 kilos of popcorn, 1,360,700 kilos of peanuts, walnuts and almonds, and the incalculable opening of cans and bottles of beer were purchased. One of the main pizza chains claims to have sold 1,200,000 units, 43% more than what comes out on an ordinary Sunday. It is no coincidence that on Monday, a working day, the greatest number of calls are made to the offices reporting sick.

The NFL Finals take place in Arizona

The Americans live this final -and this sport- with a passion similar to that of Argentina with soccer. The difference is that, behind this game, there is an impressive commercialization criteria that makes the game move more than 5000 million dollars. Not surprisingly, the NFL’s latest deal for TV rights was worth $110 billion. Nor that tickets today range between 6,000 and 25,000 dollars, still far from last year’s record, which amounted to 72,500, for having been played in one of the entertainment meccas, Los Angeles. The State Farm, in Glendale, Arizona, a stadium inaugurated in 2006 and which has a retractable surface, will again be small (capacity for 63,400), as in the previous two times that it hosted the final. It’s not by chance. All the cities fight to have the match, which in this case is estimated to be It will leave about $125 billion for local businesses: this includes $78 million for lodging, $13 million for transportation, and $35 million for restaurants.

The other market that will benefit greatly is one that is booming, that of betting, which has now added four more states that have approved its legality. The nationwide figure is expected to hit a record 16 billion, an increase of 110% from last year, according to a survey by the American Gaming Association. It is believed that at least 50 million adult Americans will place their bets, a growth of 61% from last year’s record. In Nevada, for example, where gamblers bet $180 million on the 2022 Super Bowl, the Big Game is expected to be even bigger this year, according to the state’s Gaming Control Board.

“I hope the record is broken,” said John Murray, executive director of racing and sports for Superbook at Westgate Las Vegas, before giving an explanation. “Kansas City is a team with a huge national following, it’s their third Super Bowl in the last four years and Patrick Mahomes is the face of the NFL. And on the other hand, Philadelphia has a great national fan base,” he completed.

The most surprising thing is that bets can be made on everything from the toss of the coin to see who draws – the classic heads or tails – to what color Gatorade will be poured on the Super Bowl-winning coach -yellow and green pointed at the end-, passing by who will score the first touchdown or if any of the field goals or extra points will hit any of the posts.

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Of course, in everything it helps that it is a single game, a final, with a winner and a loser, a necessity that Americans carry in their blood. In the other top sports, such as basketball, baseball, and ice hockey, there are series, best-of-seven-game definitions, and that sets it apart from the NFL, even further. We are talking about an organization that, with its development and dissemination policy, was in charge of turning it into a fantastic tradition in which sport, entertainment and business come together. Everything revolves around the Super Bowl. The statistics, so necessary for this nation of 340,000,000 inhabitants, serve to understand and verify it.

The history of this final began in 1967, 45 years after the creation of the NFL, when the main competition of American football had to compete with other leagues for supremacy. For years it had been a secondary sport, hidden by the success of baseball, the so-called “favorite pastime” in the United States. But little by little, American football was gaining popularity and new competitions emerged, such as the AFL, founded in 1960 by Lamar Hunt, owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, tired of the NFL vetoing his entry into his competition repeatedly. The rivalry between both championships caused that in June of that 1966 both tournaments reached an agreement so that their winners would face each other, to settle who was the true world champion. As pretentious as successful. Today it is a beastly business that, precisely, will once again have the Chiefs in the definition, as in 2021, when they lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, that team where they shone and were champions (in 2003). Argentine Martín Gramática.

If we get into sports, it must be said that the Philadelphia Eagles reached the grand final after defeating the 49ers 31-7 at home, making their defense shine and taking advantage of the absence of the rival quarterback, Brock Purdy. Thus he achieved his rise to the fourth definition in history. Kansas City Chiefs achieved their passage after defeating 23-20 los Bengals, taking revenge for what happened a year ago, when the two teams met in the American League final.

Patrick Mahomes, right, quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs, and Jalen Hurts, of the Philadelphia Eagles (AP)
Patrick Mahomes, right, quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs, and Jalen Hurts, of the Philadelphia Eagles (AP)

It will be the first time in history that there will be duels between Afro-descendant quarterbacks, an increasingly marked trend in American football. on one side, Jalen Hurts in the Eagles and on the other, the famous Patrick Mahomes, the greatest figure of the tournament -he was named as the MVP two days ago-, who seeks to strengthen his condition with his second title -the other was in 2019-. Philadelphia looks like the narrow favourite: pays 1.5 on bets. They have a more talented and deep team, although perhaps a little more inexperienced in a place where nerves always play a role. On top of the other side is Mahomes, who can rub the lamp every second. If they give him good coverage and the Chiefs get ahead, the trend of favoritism will change quickly.

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For now, it is clear that the party is not the only thing that attracts. Those who don’t enjoy – or understand – the game may tune in to the broadcast at halftime because the NFL, constantly seeking audiences, put on a show years ago that captures global attention. In the first editions, they used university music bands but then they went further and began to include established artists and great stars such as Sting, Michael Jackson, los Rolling Stones, Phil Collins, U2, Paul McCartney, Madonna, Prince, Beyonce, Shakira, Janet Jackson, Lady Gaga, Enrique Iglesias y el rapero Eminem, among others.

The surprising thing is that the NFL does not pay them what their cachet is worth – only a derisory figure, the minimum determined by the union -, it only takes care of production costs, which are also very high. Why do famous singers or bands agree to work “for free”? Due to the worldwide visibility of the event, which usually exceeds 200 million viewers worldwide. Entering other houses, a different public… It is known, for example, that personalities like Shakira and Jennifer López increased the number of listeners in more than 100% streaming after participating in the event. You also have to think that a 30-second commercial is worth 7 million dollars – last year there were 5 – and they, on stage, spend at least five minutes. The exhibition works for them. And a lot.

RihannaFor example, he will return after six years after moving away from music to dedicate himself to his fashion and cosmetics brand. This time the singer will be with Jay-Z, the American rapper and husband of Beyoncé, with whom she rose to fame with her song Umbrella. The interpretation of the national anthem of the United States will be in charge of Chris Stapleton. Again a great show will be available.

The Super Bowl, it is clear, will again paralyze a country but the rest of the world will also be looking sideways because it is clear that it is about much more than the final of the most popular sport in the USA.

Keep reading:

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