It’s the event that football fans wait for all year: the final game of the season, and one of the most extravagant sports matches you’ll ever see. In between the epic halftime show, the tailgating, and the expensive commercials throughout the television broadcast, there’s actually a football game that takes place, and it’s for one of the most hyped trophies in sports. But even if you know nothing about the rules of American football, there’s still plenty to enjoy about this storied weekend.
This year is an extra special occurrence: It’s the 50th anniversary of football’s biggest Sunday, and neither athletes nor advertisers are going to let the golden anniversary slide by without making an occasion out of it. Let’s take a look at some of the current plans for events and celebration:
Who’s Playing the Game
The Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos are going head to head this weekend to see who will take home the championship. (If you’re looking to dabble in putting some money down on a favorite team, you won’t be alone – this is the biggest event for sports betting, bar none. There are even prop bets on the anthem singer forgetting words!) It’s a guarantee that fans on both sides will be out in full force to support their teams in hopes that their pick will be lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Who’s Performing the Halftime Show
Rumors had been swirling across the Internet for months about who would be named to headline – generally considered a rather prestigious honor. “In late November, 2015, reports surfaced stating that “multiple acts” would perform during the halftime show,” says Wikipedia. “On December 3, the league confirmed that the show would be headlined by the British rock group Coldplay.” Later, it was also confirmed that previous halftime acts Beyoncé and Bruno Mars would be making return appearances to perform. Even though some hardcore sports fans may use halftime to go refill their bowls of snacks, there’s still a large contingent of people who tune in simply to watch their favorite bands on one of television’s biggest stages.
When and Where It’s Taking Place
This year’s event is happening on Sunday February 7th, marking the end of the 2015-16 football season. As always, the championship game takes place on neutral ground – that is, a football stadium that isn’t home turf for either team, just to remove any notion of home crowd favoritism. For 2016, the event is being held at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California – the first time the big game has been played in California since 1985, according to Wikipedia. But even before kickoff, there are numerous events taking place in and around Santa Clara and San Francisco to celebrate the sport. “More than 1 million people are expected to attend the festivities in San Francisco,” says Wikipedia, and “in addition, there are $2 million worth of other ancillary events, including a week-long event at the Santa Clara Convention Center, a beer, wine and food festival at Bellomy Field at Santa Clara University, and a pep rally.” No matter where it takes place, football’s prime matchup is always big business, bringing in tons of revenue for its host city’s establishments.
Why It’s the Biggest Event in Advertising
It goes without saying that football is the sport that brings in the most advertising revenue in the United States. Many other television programs that go up against football programs find that their ratings on that night drop instantly, simply because everybody in America is tuned in to the game. And there’s no Sunday in the year quite like the one where the big game falls – advertisers are more than willing to drop big bucks for 30-second ads to air during the event.
Noting the approximated 114.4 million viewers who tuned in to last year’s showdown, an article at Fortune states that although last year’s base price for ads was $4.5 million, this year it’s gone up 11% to $5 million. “Between 2005 and 2014, the price of a 30-spot has increased 75%, generating a total of $2.19 billion in sales,” the article reports. Combine these legendary big-budget ads (many of which are exclusive to the American broadcast) with the colorful halftime show, and the actual football game itself is almost eclipsed by comparison.
Whether you’re getting ready to paint your face with your team’s colors or you’re excited to witness the new commercials the moment they air, there’s no doubt that this event will be huge for sports fans and pop culture aficionados alike. Just be sure to stock up on guacamole, and maybe grab a football so you can have a quick game of catch in between plays.