Viewpoint: Super Bowl can entertain all with ads

Every February, people from all across the country gather in their living rooms to watch the Super Bowl, the emblem of American sports.

The Super Bowl is a meeting between the top teams of both the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference, but as far as entertainment values go, it isn’t all about the game.

From the halftime show and commercials to pregame wagers, including a coin toss bet this year, it is clear that the Super Bowl is far more than just a football game; it is a business. This is not a negative thing at all. In fact, all of the events surrounding the actual football game are likely the reason that millions of people stay on the channel for most of the duration of the game.

Even to many football fans, perhaps the most entertaining part of Super Bowl Sunday is the anticipated Super Bowl commercials. All throughout the Super Bowl new commercials are run, advertising many popular brands such as Coca-Cola. Each year, companies pay millions of dollars just to get a 30-second commercial spot.

This year, the average cost of a 30-second spot was more than $4 million, which is a 90 percent increase from a decade ago. That is an extremely high price to pay for such a short time, but for many of the commercials, it ends up paying off.

The Super Bowl is the best event if you want to run an ad. Ever since 1992, the Super Bowl has drawn well over 80 million viewers. In 2010, the Super Bowl was the most-watched television show in U.S. history, drawing more than 106.5 million viewers. That number was surpassed the following two years, maxing out at 111.6 million viewers, and that trend looks to stay upward following this year’s Super Bowl.

Each year, popular brands of vehicles, beverages and snack items headline a group of commercials.

For Coca-Cola and Toyota, viewers are entertained by polar bears that drink Coca-Cola in the North Pole and the funny, yet clever Toyota commercials. It’s no coincidence that both of these brands are at the top in global sales with Coca-Cola being the top-selling brand over the past few years.

Each year, a highly popular musical artist performs the halftime show. This is a huge part of the Super Bowl that keeps audiences glued to their seats. In 1993 at halftime at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., Michael Jackson performed many of his hit songs. This led to an effort to attract high-profile performers at halftimes.

Over the past few years, well-known celebrities such as U2, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and Beyoncé have headlined Super Bowl halftime. The performances, along with amazing light shows, keep all audiences from changing the channel.

This year, Beyoncé performed the halftime show, which turned out to be one of the top performances in recent years.

During each Super Bowl, gamblers can bet on the outcome of the games. This year, the game wasn’t the only thing people had the chance to bet on. The national anthem sung by Alicia Keys and the opening coin toss were fair game for gamblers.

For the national anthem, the bet was whether or not Alicia Keys would sing over or under two minutes and five seconds. The coin toss, on the other hand, had multiple outcomes. Fans had the chance to bet on the result of the toss and, separately, the team that won the coin toss.

Without all of these extra events tied to the Super Bowl, one could wonder how many fewer viewers there would be. One could also wonder how many viewers strictly tune in for the game or for the media side of it.

Regardless, no matter how the Super Bowl is viewed, it has become much more than a football game.

Ryan Daugherty is a junior journalism major from McKinney. He is a reporter for the Lariat.