Super Bowl tells more than just a sports story

Phillip Chao
It's one of the best areas of the US economy that Chinese people can learn from – not least in how the game is run or how its broadcasting business is done.
Phillip Chao

SUPER Bowl, the annual extravaganza of the National Football League in the US, was held this year at the US Bank stadium, Minneapolis in Minnesota on Sunday night. The Philadelphia Eagles picked up the trophy for the first time in their history and ended the reign of defending champions New England Patriots.

To me, the Eagles’ victory was just part of the bigger Super Bowl story, which was also about the game’s financial success.

Some may question the costs of the Super Bowl due to the game’s extravagant settings and expensive half-time show with celebrities performing on the stage. However, a closer analysis shows that the benefits far outweigh the costs.

First of all, this year’s Super Bowl boosted the economic growth of the host city as well as the entire nation, bringing handsome revenues to big companies and the government.

According to SeatGeek, a ticket-selling website, the average ticket price for the game sold for US$5682, equivalent to three times the per capita income of India. The most expensive seat cost a whopping US$175,790. Remember, the US Bank stadium has 666,55 seats in total.

During any Super Bowl, fans flock to the host city and bring prosperity in terms of tourism and retail business. ESPN quoted Nielsen on Monday that the Philadelphia Eagles’ 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday night averaged 103.4 million viewers on television. It was still a huge turnout of viewers, although it was the lowest Super Bowl viewership since Super Bowl XLIII (Pittsburgh Steelers vs Arizona Cardinals, 98.7 million) in February 2009.

The New York Times on Monday cited NBC as saying that 106 million viewers watched the Super Bowl on television if digital streaming is included — making it the 10th most watched program in television history. Last year, 111.3 million viewers saw New England’s comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons on TV.

Business hope

The New York Times further cited NBC as saying that it expected US$500 million in advertising revenue from the Super Bowl, where commercials were sold for about US$5 million for each 30-second time slot. NPR (National Public Radio) reported likewise on Monday.

True, the US economy may not be doing great these days, but the Super Bowl still signals hope for American businesses and people. It’s one of the best areas of the US economy that Chinese people can learn from — not least in how the game is run or how its broadcasting business is done.

What many people may have overlooked is what really makes the US Super Bowl what it is: the devotion of players to the game, their professional merits as well as skill. That, I would say, offers a lot for Chinese players to learn.

Yes, there is a tint of individual heroism in the blood of Super Bowl players, but it is never individualism run amok. The ultimate winners are always those who do a better team job than most others.

The author is a freelancer in the US.

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