The Big Game’s Impact on Society

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The Super Bowl has always been a prominent almost holiday-like day in the United States and Syracuse University Professor Dennis Deninger certainly can provide some statistics to back up that statement. He has been teaching a course called “The Super Bowl and Society” for the past seven years at Falk College of Sport Management and notes how that one game on Sunday is much more than what it may seem.

This year will be especially interesting due to controversy surrounding the NFL the past year. The entire season has seen television ratings down about 9% and advertising down 1.2%; however, the NFL is such a huge moneymaker that the money is still in well into the multi-billions. Deninger also notes that the Super Bowl is exempt from much of the regular season because it is the Super Bowl. Twice as many people tune in to watch the NFL’s primetime event as the other championship games combined. 

In 2009, the average viewership for the Super Bowl was 98.9 million viewers per minute. Last year there was a 111.3 million viewers per minute. That’s an increase of 12% in less than 10 years. So even if the viewership was to go down, it would still be nowhere near the next highest watched event which would be the College Football Championship with 25 million. 

While one may attribute the lower numbers surrounding this NFL season to do with politics, Deninger is quick to point out it may be more than that. You cannot underestimate the way people are changing how they consume television. Also, the average viewer age of the NFL is increasing and young viewers don’t seem to be watching as much. Many younger generations are not watching the big game solely on their television sets and the NFL has to find new ways to get people interested in football if the game wants to continue to be celebrated like a national holiday.

NBC airs the Super Bowl this Sunday, February 4 at 6:30pm. The defending champion New England Patriots will take on the Philadelphia Eagles for the 52nd annual event.

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