Why do we watch the Super Bowl?
By Kevin Mercado
Feb 3, 2015
The Super Bowl is arguably the most watched televised event in history. The Super Bowl rakes in over 100 million viewers each year, with the number growing during the halftime show. This year it is reported to have 184 million viewers, according to National Retail Federation. However, an average season game only occupies about 20 million viewers.
I suppose that the Super Bowl gives fans and TV watchers what regular games cannot: great commercials.
The Super Bowl has almost become synonymous with featuring all new ads for cars, beers, and movie trailers. These ads also feature various celebrities and humorous antics associated with the night’s big game. According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, 41.3 percent of people surveyed thought that the commercials and spending time with friends and family is the most important part of the game. 12 percent identified the halftime show as their favorite part of the game.
There are plenty of devoted fans of the game that watch to find out who will win. However, the spike in viewers is probably due to the hype and hysteria surrounded what ads will be shown during the commercial slots in between touchdowns and passes.
I mean, who would not want to watch Kate Upton eating a Cheeto or a fast Honda or Chevrolet pummeling through an unoccupied highway on the side of a mountain?
Viewers are waiting for the commercials that are uncomfortable, touching, or just downright hilarious that they comment on after the game (or sometimes even during the game).
Getting an ad to be featured during the Super Bowl is one of the best time slots to get people to see it, no matter the price.
According to Forbes’ website, last year it cost a resounding $4 million dollars to feature a 30-second commercial and $8 million dollars for a 60-second commercial. U.S. News reports an increase at $4.5 million. So, naturally, we are only going to see big budget commercials from major markets, brands, and accompanies like Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount, Coca-Cola, and several car and alcohol companies.
I guess we never really noticed the production value of it all because we were too distracted listening to “America The Beautiful” sung in several different languages, or watching model Bar Refaeli uncomfortably kiss, sound effects and all, an awkward Average Joe.
Nevermind the overly priced and sometimes disappointing Super Bowl commercials, viewership spikes during the game when it boils down to the Halftime Show. I can honestly say that it one of the best times in the game. After watching the game for almost two hours straight, while enjoying the various commercials of course, it is nice to watch 12 to 15 minutes of entertainment from some favorite musicians and singers.
Typically, in order to fill 12 minutes of airtime, the performer sings a multitude of their greatest hits, performs for the first time their new song, and brings out some special guests to join them on stage.
Last year Bruno Mars, being the most watched halftime show with over 115 million viewers, introduced the Red Hot Chili Peppers during his performance singing “Give it Away” along with a medley of his hits. Beyoncé a year before that had her former Destiny’s Child group members come out on stage with her all singing her greatest hits during what was dubbed the “Blackout Bowl” after a partial blackout at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. Madonna had a slew of guest including Nicki Minaj, Cee Lo Green, LMFAO, and M.I.A. during her 2012 Halftime show.
It seems customary to have other big name performers join in on the halftime show. It does get hard to cover 12 minutes of live airtime and it attracts more viewers that can span a wider spectrum of genres. People tune in because it is like a mini-concert in their own homes much like watching award shows like the Grammys. They are usually exciting and thrill and audience. It brings in viewers who are not essentially football fans.
Katy Perry matched Bruno Mars, Madonna, and Beyoncé with her performance this year by featuring Missy Elliot and Lenny Kravitz.
I can deduce that if the Super Bowl was just like any other game it would continue to garner the 20 million viewers it sustains from regular games. However, The Super Bowl offers a time to celebrate and a free concert to tune in to for 15 minutes. It provides something for everyone: competition, sports, entertainment, or music. I think I can safely say that a vast majority of the 100 million viewers who tune in to the Super Bowl do not actually care to watch the game as much as they want to watch some flub the national anthem (i.e. Christina Aguilera) or watch the ever-exciting Halftime show or the Super Bowl ads.