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Super Bowl: How did the NFL final become so famous?

Super Bowl: How did the NFL final become so famous?

On February 12, State Farm Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals, will be ready to host Super Bowl LVII, the final of the National Football League (NFL) – the largest American football competition in the world. The matchup will be between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles, who will be doing everything in their power to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Not only is the NFL Championship Game the biggest entertainment event in the United States each year, it is also a broadcast watched by millions of people around the world – including sports fans and the general public. But at the end of the day, what makes a Super Bowl “super”? Understand how this event has taken on great proportions over the years!

the modern history

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Before we talk about how the Super Bowl reached such ridiculous proportions, it's important to shed a little light on the event's recent success. According to NBC Sports, the 2022 Final averaged more than 110 million viewers, including 11.2 million people who watched the game via live stream.

The numbers alone are already impressive, but could be considered 'disappointing' if we consider that the 2015 final was watched by 114 million people on television alone. In fact, this was the largest audience for a single network broadcast in the country's history. The Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969 attracted more viewers, but was simulcast on multiple networks.

Growth in television

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Now that it's possible to measure how many people devote their time to watching the Super Bowl each year, let's put into context how the NFL's grand final became so popular. According to the researchers, the main reason this happened is because the league became very popular at the same time as the number of television sets in the United States increased.

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In 1955, only half of American homes had a television set. In the following years, as color television programs became more popular, the vast majority of homes in the country had access to a television set. The first Super Bowl was held in 1967, when 93% of North American homes already had a TV.

The NFL has taken advantage of this organic growth to capitalize on it at the right time. While the American public was eager to be able to watch great performances on their screens, American football emerged as a great option and managed to turn the final not only into a major sporting competition, but into one of the largest entertainment events in the world.

Synonymous with patriotism

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Before achieving global success, the NFL needed to conquer the United States. With the emergence of the Super Bowl from the merger of the NFL and its main rival, the American Football League (AFL), the rivalry on the field between teams that had never before shared a field was a major attraction.

However, it is still not enough. When the League decided to associate itself with the image of the American flag and established close ties with the US Army, support from the patriotic public was overwhelming. When the NFL came into being, it created the image of an American-only tournament that celebrated the country's history. Due to globalization, the league saw an opportunity to expand its business to other regions and achieved larger travels.

Teams in the largest media markets

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

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The NFL currently consists of 32 teams, and one of its greatest advantages is the development of franchises in many of the largest media markets in the United States. The Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins were two teams that dominated the championship in the early years and brought large crowds of fans with them.

New York has two teams, the Giants and Jets, as does Los Angeles, with the Chargers and Rams. San Francisco is home to the 49ers, Washington has the leaders, Chicago is home to the Bears, and even Las Vegas has become the scene of Raiders games. When the country's most populous cities host teams, the Bowl of Gold inevitably becomes closer.

Opportunity for advertisers and entertainment

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

If all the marketing strategies mentioned so far weren't good enough, the NFL had a few more tricks up its sleeve to win more viewers: opening up space for big advertisers and bringing massive attractions to play in the Super Bowl halftime show.

With such a large television audience, the world's largest American football league did not face many obstacles in winning over companies that wanted to showcase their brands in games. Currently, it is estimated that each final-stage ad space costs approximately US$7 million.

Finally, the Super Bowl is a big draw even for those who don't like American football very much, because every year the halftime show welcomes a famous singer to perform more than one special for a global audience.

Across all editions, names like Maroon 5, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Prince are some of the examples of artists who have performed for audiences in stadiums and also on television. In 2023, the person who will have the opportunity to surprise everyone is singer Rihanna.

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