Given its centrality in American life, it’s hard to fathom at times that the Super Bowl has only been with us since 1967. By comparison, the World Series has been around since 1903 – the Pittsburgh Pirates were in the first one, losing to the Boston Americans – and the modern Olympic Games bowed seven years before that.
In the 47 years since the maiden Super Bowl, not only has it won pride of place as the cardinal event on our sporting calendar, but it’s also become a steroid-pumped, ritual-heavy commercial extravaganza. It seems to get bigger every year and is mined more deeply for moneymaking opportunities.
The pre-pre-pre-game show starts somewhere around noon, moving at the stately pace of a monarch’s coronation into the pre-pre-game show and, finally, the pre-game show. Along with the millions corporations expend on Super Bowl-exclusive commercials they hope will generate water-cooler and online buzz, just about every moment of the Super Bowl has corporate sponsorship affixed to it. Once the game itself finally gets going, standard components of it, from the coin-toss to the kick-off, come with sponsors attached.
Of course, in recent years the entire shebang is more than likely to transpire in a stadium whose moniker went to the highest bidder. On Sunday, it will be at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
The folks behind Sunday’s Super Bowl were apparently able to uncover yet another new and novel way to turn a buck this year. During Tuesday’s Super Bowl Media Day, fans were given the option of paying between $28 and $50 apiece to sit in the stands at the nearby Prudential Center – another corporate label – and watch journalists interview players and coaches.
This is, shall we say, using every part of the cow. Even the tail.
It also made us wonder about the revenue-generating possibilities that could result from the workaday journalistic tasks we carry out. Could we charge $28 to watch a reporter cover a township board meeting? Maybe $50 for someone to witness the resulting story being edited?
Heck, we’ll even discount that to $40.