For U.S. sports fans, the championship pro football game is the country’s biggest, most anticipated sporting event of the year.
And this year’s game, Super Bowl LVII, should be a good one. The American Football Conference champion Kansas City Chiefs will play the National Football Conference champion Philadelphia Eagles on February 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Both teams are led by dynamic young quarterbacks — Patrick Mahomes II for the Chiefs and Jalen Hurts for the Eagles. Additionally, the game will feature brothers playing for opposing teams. Travis Kelce is a standout tight end for the Chiefs while his older brother, Jason, is a key member of the Eagles’ offensive line.
An American obsession
How big is the Super Bowl? It accounts for 30 of the 32 most-watched television broadcasts in U.S. history.
The game, at its beginnings, was not particularly notable. The first championship game, in 1967, was not called the Super Bowl. The National Football League and the American Football League had been rival professional leagues during the 1960s. As part of a merger settlement, the leagues agreed to have the champion teams of the NFL and the AFL play each other in a game. The first such game — the “AFL-NFL World Championship Game” — was played in the Los Angeles Coliseum in front of about 62,000 fans and 30,000 empty seats.
Now the Super Bowl always sells out, with fans scrambling to get tickets. And a recent survey by the data research firm Morning Consult reports that nearly half of all Americans are “very likely” to watch the Super Bowl on television.
Ticket prices have changed too. In 1967, game tickets cost anywhere from $6 to $12. People at the time thought those prices were outrageously high. Today, fans can expect to pay more than $5,000 for a ticket.
Super Bowl ads and the halftime show
The money to purchase an advertisement during the game has gone up too. A 30-second ad spot during the first championship broadcast cost $42,000. But advertisers began to use the game’s growing television audience to showcase new products, such as when Apple launched its new Macintosh personal computer with an iconic ad during the 1984 Super Bowl. Today, Super Bowl ads are so popular that many people watch the game mostly to see them. Now television networks ask for more than $5.5 million for a 30-second spot.
The halftime show also has become a big draw for people who are not necessarily devoted football fans. It may be hard to believe, when considering recent highly produced halftime shows, but the first halftime show for the big game featured two college marching bands and a band from a local secondary school.
Over the years the halftime show has become a showcase for more and more famous pop stars, such as Michael Jackson, Madonna and Beyonce, as well as international rock ‘n’ roll bands (U2, the Rolling Stones and former Beatle Paul McCartney). This year, superstar Barbadian singer Rihanna will be the featured performer.
The ads and halftime entertainment have made the Super Bowl much more than just a football game to Americans. The event has become a great way for Americans to gather family and friends together. (It is also the second biggest “food holiday” in the United States after Thanksgiving.)
Organizers believe this year’s game will give Americans even more reasons to love the Super Bowl.