It was Super Bowl Sunday! In the nerve-wrecking finale of the NFL season, the New England Patriots succeeded over the Atlanta Falcons in the first ever overtime Super Bowl. Since this event has gained quite a bit of popularity in Europe as well, I am excited to tell you that in the US this day is...... Pretty much like any other Sunday.
On Super Bowl Sunday Americans eat a staggering 1.33 billion chicken wings, 13,000,000 kg of chips and 3,600,000 kg of Guacamole. Pizza Delivery Services make a third of their annual earnings on this day and pain medication sales double on Monday morning. Super Bowl Sunday is the second biggest food-related holiday in America, right after Thanksgiving. To run a 30 second commercial, companies have to fork over an impressive $5 million. That is $166,667 a second!
You might think "Wow, that sounds insane! Marius was so lucky to experience this madness", but I've got to tell you: It wasn't all that crazy. No special deals from pizza or chicken wing takeouts, no crazy amounts of merchandize in stores, no one coming up to you asking "Hey man, you gonna watch the Super Bowl?", no public viewing, no promotions, no huge parties in the neighbourhood... At least in Ann Arbor everything was much, MUCH more calm than expected.
I feel like in Germany this event is perceived as being much more crazy than it actually is. In the US, it's more like a nice occasion for a get together with friends, to eat as much unhealthy food as possible (and I'm not judging here, I love unhealthy food as much as any other guy and calm get togethers are much more pleasant than huge parties). In contrast, back home it is much more ritualized and hyped up than it is in the US. I guess that is because it's happening on a Sunday night and many people who want to watch it have to either take a day off from work, accept the fact that they are going to be unproductive if they don't have any days off left or - like I always did - be a lazy student. If people would have to stay up this late to watch the Super Bowl in the US... well, they wouldn't. Most of them, anyway. So, German American Football fans have to be a lot more dedicated and invested in this sport to watch the Superbowl. I just couldn't believe how little of a deal the Super Bowl was here in Ann Arbor, so I just had to check the numbers. How many Americans actually watch the Superbowl? Was it just Ann Arbor or were there other places in the US that just couldn't be bothered?
The estimated number of viewers for this event ranges from a little less than 120 million to over 800 million people. I am going to trust CBS Sports on this one: 118.5 million people watch this event in the US. Although, American Football has gained popularity outside the US, it is nowhere near being considered a 'popular sport' anywhere in Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, Australia or even in wide parts of Northern America. NFL spin-offs in other countries have failed miserably, as well. So, we can assume that the number of viewers outside the US is probably not as high as it is within the US. As it is very hard to get your hands on accurate estimations, however, let's just assume the US viewer numbers by two: That makes 237 million viewers worldwide. While I thought this number should be higher, having only experienced this in Germany, thinking that AT LEAST every American watched this event out of mere patriotism, 237 million seems - to be completely honest - rather flattering for the NFL, now that I have actually experienced - or much more accurate NOT experienced - it in its home nation. More Americans than expected just don't really seem to care too much about the Super Bowl.
Nevertheless, it is a great event and ticket prices are exorbitantly high. The average ticket price for the 2017 Super Bowl was $6,250, which is about $3,000 cheaper than in 2015, but still... crazy! People are taking another mortgage on their houses and cancelling holiday trips to the Carribean, that's how much they want to go to this 4-hour firework of highlights and celebrities. And who can blame them? I mean, if you had grown up, watching American Football with your dad every weekend, why wouldn't you want to go to the Super Bowl someday when you can afford it?
I myself am not the biggest American Football fan as you guys probably know, so I won't have to buy pain medication tomorrow morning. I do have two exams coming up, though, so wish me luck and have a smooth Superbowl Monday!