The Super Bowl Hype: If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em

As an avid entertainment enthusiast, my most anticipated nights those spent with friends watching an award show like the Grammy’s or the Oscar’s. For football fans, the highlight of their year is the Super Bowl, the finale to months of screaming at a television for their favorite team. Unlike award shows however, the Super Bowl has transformed into much more than a one-night event. Bets are made, fan-power is tested, millions of ad dollars are spent, and social media is set ablaze with minute-to-minute updates. But honestly, this is why I love it.

It is incredibly easy to find a blog or website that will happily rant about how the Super Bowl is overrated, overhyped and downright absurd. I could not agree more with this sentiment; yet, this is what makes it such an anticipated event and quite frankly, a cultural staple. At a time when greed, anger and political righteousness is all too prominent, why not let the Super Bowl suspend us in all its absurdity, just for a day. Personally, the sporting aspect of the Super Bowl does not dictate my happiness, and the media frenzy that this event ignites does not particularly disgust me either. Rather, I see the Super Bowl as an incredibly powerful platform for entertainment, advertisement and competition. I see the Super Bowl as a fascinating phenomenon that undeniably brings together all kinds of people, who are looking for one thing: to be entertained.

We Like the Game, But We Love the Other Stuff More

A blog on CNN.com explains that the Super Bowl guarantees three things,You can count on three things each year: There will be a play that will make people lose their minds, a halftime show performance that will divide the country and a slew of ads that make people either love or hate your company for a few days.” Knowing that the Super Bowl will inevitably provide entertainment whether it is the disappointing ads or subpar half-time show ensures that even if the game is not action-packed, the rest of the event will be. According to David Smith of the Daily Nebraskan, an average 30-second commercial during this year’s Super Bowl cost an average of $3.5 million. This incredibly high cost indicates to fans that if a company is paying that kind of money, they are likely going to use it wisely. Smith explains, “They’re funnier, edgier, more fun and more out-there than any other ads you’re likely to see during the year.”

Images from 2012 Super Bowl commercials

Unfortunately, Finance Daily argues that advertising during the Super Bowl often does not improve a company’s stock value and may not have much influence on their customers. For example, in the 2011 Super Bowl, Best Buy had a star-studded commercial featuring Ozzy Osbourne and Justin Bieber. Surprisingly, the company’s “stock fell 0.7% on the Monday after the Super Bowl, and tumbled 4.6% over the course of the week.” This supports the notion that companies are throwing away precious dollars on ads, and maybe this is true, but as the most watched event of the year there is no arguing that commercials are half the reason non-football fans tune into the game.

Those who aren’t tuning into the Super Bowl for the game or commercials are likely waiting around for the halftime show. This 15-minute performance is a leading force behind the Super Bowl’s cultural and commercial dominance. The performances are hardly dull and keep us talking year after year, “From the first big single act to perform during the halftime show in Michael Jackson, to U2’s heartwarming tribute to the 9/11 victims in 2002, to Janet Jackson’s ‘wardrobe’ malfunction in 2004.” Each year we know that the Super Bowl will aim to top itself and I can’t help but be curious.With that, there is no denying that the Super Bowl has produced some greatest and most talked-about performances of all time. Check out U2’s 2002 performance:

 Let’s Make A Deal

The millions of ad dollars and unbelievable effort put into the half time show are just half of what gives the Super Bowl so much hype. Melissa Jacobs, writer for ESPN.com, explained “Between the celebrity factor of Tom Brady and the Giants hailing from the nation’s most populous market” this year’s game was expected to be the most be-upon event in Super Bowl history, projected to exceed $10 billion internationally. Surprisingly, women are right in the thick of these game-day gambles. Women are especially drawn to the novelty proposition bets, which this year include options such as, “What color hair will Madonna have to start her halftime show?” and “If Tom Brady’s son is shown, will he be wearing a Tom Brady jersey?” I find it kind of scary, yet kind of refreshing that so many women, approximately 50% of this year’s gamblers, are getting in on what is frequently regarded as a “man’s domain.” Women who wouldn’t otherwise want to talk to their spouses about the game, or get to know a sporting culture that most men love so much is probably a good thing.

 Let Talk About It

Like I said before, the Super Bowl hype is a bit scary, but all things considered, there is something to be said about the level of communication it generates. So long are the days when commentators or entertainment news correspondents are the only ones who get to give their opinion on the game, commercials or halftime shows. A blog on CNN reports, “The Super Bowl set a new record for total viewers and simultaneous tweeting, with 12,233 tweets a second during the final three minutes of the game.” On Super Bowl Sunday we knew that everyone would be taking to twitter to hash out every bit of the game in 140 characters or less. It is exciting to see people getting so involved and feeling so passionate about something, and as a community, the Super Bowl is something we can all find a way to get involved in. Regardless of your race, class or gender, you are allowed to have an opinion on the Super Bowl, and it is just as valid as anyone else’s.

 Pass the Chips Please

If you ask me, Super Bowl Sunday has become an American holiday. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest day for American food consumption, only surpassed by Thanksgiving. Some would say that the Super Bowl illustrates everything that is wrong with our society: a culture of over consumers who are intoxicated with the glitz and glamour of the media. I accept this argument, but I encourage you to take the monster for what it is, and simply enjoy it. The Super Bowl gives us a few hours to escape from everything else and relish in good entertainment, food and friends. You know what they say, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

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