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Super Bowl: America’s World Cup

As anyone who’s relocated from another country to the U.S. knows, futbol is not as popular in America as it is in their part of the world. While what those in the States refer to as soccer does have a devoted following, it’s nowhere near as big a sport as it is in Latin America and most of Europe.

That’s not to suggest that the U.S. citizens aren’t wild about sports that you play with your feet – it’s just their preferred brand has a ball that’s shaped differently and strapped with white laces.

Similar to the World Cup for soccer, professional football has its own championship known as the Super Bowl. Each year right around this time, most of the country watches the sporting event, which for the 2012-13 season takes place on February 3, between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens.

Some of the statistics detailing just how popular the event is provides a glimpse into America’s football-crazed culture.

The viewership of the Super Bowl may be the best indicator of how many people take part in the annual event. For example, last year alone, Super Bowl XLVI between the New England Patriots and New York Giants broke television records, with nearly 167 million people throughout the country watching the three hour game, according to Nielsen Media. That’s more than 50 percent of the American population. It marked the fifth straight year that that year’s Super Bowl became the most-watched televised event, according to the National Football League.

Advertisers spend millions for commercials during Super Bowl
Because so many watch the gridiron action, advertisers pay top dollar to air 30-second commercials in an effort to gain a potential customer’s business. According to John Bogusz, executive vice president of sports sales for CBS, the television network that aired the Super Bowl, advertisers spent as much as $3.5 million for a half-minute commercial. And for this year’s game, the average cost will likely be north of $4 million. Some of the most common advertisers have worldwide representation. In fact, when immigrants send money overseas to their family, their kids and spouses may spend their money on many of the products that these companies promote, such as cars made by Volkswagen, candy made by Mars and soft drinks produced by Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

Many immigrants who choose to relocate to the U.S. do so for the business climate. And the Super Bowl is a major contributor for businesses of various types. According to Rockport Analytics, spending that derives from watching the big game helps produce more than 5,500 jobs each year, contributing nearly $180 million to employer payrolls.

Immigrants have had their influence on the Super Bowl, not only among those watch but also those who are actually in the NFL and have a chance to play in the yearly event that’s hosted by a different city each year. For instance, Mat McBriar, punter for the Philadelphia Eagles, is originally from Australia. Igor Olshansky, a defensive tackle for the Miami Dolphins, was born in Ukraine and moved to the U.S. with his family when he was 8. And former Arizona Cardinals guard Rolando Cantu hails from Mexico. He now works in the front office for the team.

Football may be a ways away from catching up to futbol among the Latino community, but it is making headway. Recently, the Dallas Morning News reported about the popularity of American-style football, with some of the biggest fans rooting for the Dallas Cowboys. The paper notes that the NFL opened offices in Mexico back in 1998 and has since made a concerted effort to market itself to the Latino community.

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