Avocado sales surge, sewer systems burst, and one billion people tune in worldwide. These are just a few of the myths surrounding Super Bowl Sunday, what has become a “de facto” American holiday.
Avocado sales do not rise during the weeks before the big game because of increased guacamole consumption, pipes do not burst due to the bathroom rush during commercial breaks and people in Sri Lanka really don’t care about football.
But Americans do. The Super Bowl is the most watched televised event ever, with 111 million people tuned in to Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5 this year.
Super Bowl Sunday is also the second highest day of food consumption, right after Thanksgiving, according to the USDA.
Those infamous commercials are also costing a pretty penny. This year companies paid $3.5 million for a 30-second spot during the game, according to the Associated Press.
So what is all the hype about? Greasy food, men tackling each other to the ground, and consumerism in all its glory?
There is certainly more to the Super Bowl than that. Team loyalty brings people together, and feeling part of a group or community is essential to healthy social interactions, according to John Tauer, Ph. D., a contributor to the website psychologytoday.com. Fans naturally want to associate themselves with a successful group or team, hence the collective term, “WE WON!”
The Super Bowl does provide positive social interactions, but it may not be worth all the hype and lore.
Supposedly one of the positive outcomes of the game is the economic boost to the cities that host a Super Bowl, according to NFL officials. But in actuality, warm-weather cities like Miami do not make much profit, if any, from hosting football’s biggest game of the year.
“On the high side, there’s a $30 million impact. On the low side, it’s closer to zero,” said Andrew Zimbalist, an economics professor at Smith College in Northampton, Mass. He said the exaggeration in revenue estimates come from flawed reasoning in studies that assume that no tourists would come to these cities otherwise. Zimbalist also said people coming to a city for the Super Bowl will just replace tourists, so there is no noticeable net increase in tourism revenue.
According to Yuval Rosenberg, a writer for The Fiscal Times, Indianapolis gained $150 million in revenue from hosting the Super Bowl this year. It may be worth it for some cities to host the game, despite the expenses also associated with it.
The Super Bowl is a time to get together with friends and family, eat a lot of chicken wings and yell at big-screen televisions. It is a multi-billion dollar business enterprise that seems to be largely recession-proof.
Is the hype worth it? To some the answer would definitely be a “yes”, while others don’t see the point in all the build-up.