The economic impact of the Super Bowl is extraordinary

In Mexico, the Super Bowl audience has been decreasing. As a merchandise, it sells quite well. An average Mexican family spends 600 and even a thousand pesos to watch the game at home.

The economic impact of the Super Bowl is extraordinary
Super Bowl game. Photo by Stephane Coudassot-Berducou / Unsplash

Of the millions of spectators that will attend Super Bowl LVI on February 13, only 10 percent in Mexico will correspond to "a loyal, faithful, ideologized fan base, devoted to American soccer; the rest will take advantage of the pretext, fill the hall and use the day to do something different," said Alejandro Byrd Orozco, an academic at the Faculty of Higher Education (FES) Acatlan.

The Super Bowl is not what it seems: a great sporting event. "Those who dispute it are no longer people, but characters and, in the culture of spectacle and commercialism that prevails, it becomes a great sum of the ravings of capitalism that surround us. It is an event that sells wherever you want to see it, that is mounted in a showcase, which is open to all cultures and civic possibilities. Kids and adults wear T-shirts, caps and it becomes paraphernalia".

In 2022, tickets for the most important game of the National Football League (NFL) in the United States, where this year the Los Angeles Rams will host the Cincinnati Bengals at their home, the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, have risen to a minimum price of 154,000 pesos (general) and up to 2,150,000 pesos (in the VIP area). A minimum of two tickets must be purchased.

Last year's tickets were the most expensive in history, when only 14,500 tickets were put on sale out of the 75,000 seats at Raymond James Stadium, in Tampa, Florida, which reached a price of up to 45,000 dollars, that is, around 940,000 pesos.

Only privileged people who can pay for access to the stadium attend; for the rest, the game will be enjoyed on a mega-screen, surrounded by friends, eating and drinking, or listening to a radio, according to each person's possibilities, "so as not to miss the great event which, as of merchandise, sells very well, and produces an extraordinary economic impact".

The first Super Bowl, the final game of the NFL championship, in which the best teams of the National and American conferences face each other, was held on January 15, 1967. The winner was the Green Bay team. The current champions are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Super Bowl for the world

Seemingly bounded, in reality, the Super Bowl reaches any number of stages; it is impossible to isolate oneself to the paraphernalia of the game. From an extraordinary media empire, a society like the U.S. can export and make us believe in it all, Byrd adds. "They make us live with them their flagship sports, American soccer, and baseball, above all."

In the late 1970s and mid-1980s, a Mexican played for the Dallas Cowboys: Rafael Septién. Back then, the fans revolved around the countryman who was involved in the "big army" as a kicker. That was a patriotic reason enough to "go" to that Texan team.

Today, Mexico is the second country with the most NFL fans and the most important game permeates culturally, we assume it as our own, says the academic. "We have loved to follow what our neighbors to the north do; we reproduce it and, indeed, restaurants and homes will be crammed." Regardless of the health emergency, people will flock; they are going to expose themselves to contagion and risk others.

The most-watched Super Bowl has been 2015 when the New England-Seattle game drew 114.4 million viewers in the U.S. alone. Last year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' victory over the Kansas City Chiefs attracted an audience of 96.4 million viewers and was the first NFL game to register more than one billion minutes of streaming; it broke the record for viewership on digital platforms.

In the national territory, in 2020 an audience of more than 12 million people was recorded, equivalent to 10 percent of the country's total population; and in 2021 it was 11.65 million, reported by the country's two main television stations. However, it has decreased in recent years, since in 2015, it was 15.5 million.

This could be because of the "historical" teams or those with the largest number of followers, or players such as Tom Brady, who have become a kind of "Captain America" and who will not be present on this occasion because of his team, Tampa Bay, was eliminated.

Who benefits most from Super Bowl?

In Mexico, some sectors benefit from the Super Bowl. The Association of Avocado Producers and Packers and Exporters of Mexico estimates that 140 thousand tons of avocado will be shipped to the United States for this sporting event alone, a historic maximum for the sector.

According to the Mexico City Chamber of Commerce, the game will cause an increase in the purchase of products such as beer, wine, liquor, snacks, hamburgers, and pizzas. An average family spends 600 pesos and up to a thousand in the case of meetings, compared to the United States, where they spend around 1,700 pesos (88.8 dollars) according to the National Retail Federation.

Last year, one second of advertising during the broadcast of the game cost 3,741,833 pesos in the United States; in Mexico, the average rate for advertising during the broadcast was 26,000 pesos on free-to-air television, according to ESPN Digital.