Sunday, February 04, 2007

Countdown to Kickoff – Super Bowl XLI is finally here

At long last the Super Bowl game will be played tonight at Miami’s Dolphins Stadium. Earlier this week Forbes Magazine released their latest subjective sports list – “The World's Most Valuable Sporting Event Brands.” The Forbes list was based on the daily revenue generated by that event. Events like the Olympics and soccer’s World Cup may have a bigger overall economic valuation, but Forbes believes the Super Bowl is the biggest single day in the sports industry.

What was Forbes rationale for the decision they made: Commercial inventory for last year's game on ABC--owned by the Walt Disney Co. amounted to $154 million, based on a record $2.5 million commercial rate for 30 seconds of airtime. Sprint Nextel paid $12 million to sponsor halftime, a figure that is expected to be topped by PepsiCo. when the Colts play the Bears in Super Bowl XLI on Sunday. CBS sold their available commercial inventory for $2.6 million per spot and are expected to generate more than $163 million in advertising revenue from today’s game. Those are the spots that air during the actual game, not the spots that run during the six and a half hour of the pre game show.

The Super Bowl's licensing program generated a record $140 million, with the largest share coming from Reebok, owned by German apparel maker Adidas. And thanks to an average ticket price of $613, gate receipts provided $31 million in revenue (net of the 25% of the tickets the NFL gives to the media, sponsors and league affiliates). An average ticket price of $613 was based on the face value of tickets for Super Bowl XL (that doesn’t account for the thousands of dollars paid for tickets on the secondary ticket market).

But the big numbers only begin with what Forbes offered earlier this week in regard to the Super Bowl. The National Football League’s numbers, especially their Super Bowl numbers are mind boggling:

NFL games on broadcast TV (CBS, FOX and NBC) averaged 16.3 million viewers (up four percent from 2005). On cable, NFL games on ESPN averaged 12.3 million viewers (up 41 percent) and 4.1 million viewers on NFL Network.

Super Bowl XL is the second most-watched program ever (141.4 million total viewers).

The 13 most-watched programs in TV history are all Super Bowls.

Super Bowl XL was watched in record 234 countries and territories in a record 32 languages.

More women watched Super Bowl XL this year (40.0 million) than total viewers watched the 2006 Academy Awards (38.9 million).

Thirteen NFL games during the 2005 season had as many or more viewers than prime time’s five most-watched May 2006 season/series finales.

NFL games were the top-ranked program locally a record 80 percent of the time – up from 69.3 percent in 2005 and surpassing the previous record of 73 percent set in 2003.
And a list of the NFL’s corporate partnerships over the last several years reads like a who’s who of corporate America:

December 2000 – NFL signs 10-year deal with Reebok to manufacture and sell NFL licensed merchandise, including uniforms, sideline apparel, footwear and the NFL Equipment apparel line.
July 2001-NFL signs a 5-year deal internet deal with AOL Time Warner, Viacom (CBS) and CBS Sportsline.
November 2002: NFL signs a 5-year extension with Motorola
March 2002: NFL signs a 5-year deal with Coors
March 2002: NFL signs a 5-year deal with Pepsi
October 2002: NFL signs a multi-year deal with Masterfoods (Snickers)
December 2002: NFL signs a 5-year extension with DIRECTV for satellite exclusivity for distribution of NFL Sunday Ticket
July 2003: NFL signs a multi-year deal with Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline
July 2003: NFL signs a multi-year deal with IBM
September 2003: NFL signs a 6-year extension with MBNA for credit card rewards program
December 2003: NFL signs 5-year extension with to produce NFL Shop site/catalog
December 2003: NFL signs 7-year deal with Sirius (satellite radio package)
January 2004: NFL signs 6-year extension with Visa
February 2004: NFL signs 8-year extension with Gatorade
April 2004: NFL signs 7-year extension with Pepsi
April 2004: NFL signs 3-year extension with Campbell’s
August 2004: NFL signs 3-year extension with Canon
August 2004: NFL signs 3-year extension with Southwest Airlines
October 2004: NFL signs with Ameriquest Mortgage Company
May 2005: NFL signs multi year deal with Burger King
July 2005: NFL signs multi-year deal Proctor & Gamble’s Prilosec
August 2005: NFL signs 5-year wireless content & sponsorship deal with Sprint
September 2005: NFL signs multi-year extension with Coors
October 2005: NFL signs 2-year deal with Samsung (official HDTV)
September 2006: NFL signs 5-year extension with Motorola
October 2006: NFL signs 2-year sponsorship deal with State Farm
January 2007: NFL signs multi-year sponsorship deal with The Home Depot

And Super Bowl Sunday always produces its share of ‘amusing’ sports business related statistical information:

More people watched Super Bowl XL (141.4 million viewers) than voted in the 2004 Presidential election or went out to celebrate New Year’s Eve.
There are 7.5 million parties on Super Bowl Sunday, with 43.9 million party-goers (National Retail Federation)
1.5 million TV sets will be sold the week leading up to Super Bowl (National Retail Federation)
Sales of big screen TVs show fivefold increase during Super Bowl week (National Electronic Dealers Association)
Super Bowl is top at-home party event of year, ahead of New Year’s Eve (Hallmark Cards, Inc.)
Average Number of Attendees for a Super Bowl party is 17 (Hallmark)
Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest day of food consumption behind Thanksgiving
(American Institute of Food Distribution)
On Super Bowl Sunday, Americans consume 8 million pounds of guacamole (California
Avocado Commission)
Antacid sales increase 20 percent the day after Super Bowl (7-11 stores)
Super Bowl weekend is the slowest weekend for weddings (multiple sources)
Estimated 14,500 tons of chips and 4,000 tons of popcorn eaten on Super Bowl Sunday (multiple)
Following Paul McCartney’s Super Bowl XXXIX halftime show, “products bearing his name were flying off the shelves at" Sales ranks for his CDs’ “All the Best” and “Wingspan” jumped from 3,115 to 331 and 1,060 to 144, respectively

There were more than 2,000 media accredited for Super Bowl XLI. Most will be leaving Miami today doing their best to ‘get out of town’ before the Miami and Fort Lauderdale airports are packed later tonight and all day Monday. Most of the media were in Miami to cover the events leading up to today’s game. By tonight’s 6:30 PM kickoff those who focus their attention on covering actual football games throughout the NFL season will do just that.

The media for the most part loves the Super Bowl, especially the access associated with the event as they have reported over the years:

“Today’s world will not shrink the Super Bowl, but it has shrunk the stature of conceivable competitors –and the will of advertisers to match event-TV with event-ads as they do in the first week of February.” – (Business Week, 1/15/07)

“No competitive endeavor, not even women's figure skating once every four Februarys, can overtake the NFL Playoffs.” – (Washington Post, 1/9/07)

“In an age of limitless distractions and short attention spans, the seemingly endless desire for anything pertaining to professional football has reached obsessive heights...used to be people went to the movies to escape reality, to be entertained for a few hours. Now they watch football.” – (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 9/19/06)

“According to USA Today, ticket sales for movies in the U.S. declined sharply on NFL Kickoff Weekend, falling 45% from the previous weekend and 30% from the same weekend last year.
"The opening weekend of the National Football League season typically is a tough one for studios," the newspaper wrote.” (USA Today, 9/11/06)

“We are Bored Sports Nation. Other than football, nothing can keep our attention” – (Philadelphia Daily News, 2/17/06)

“When it comes to corporate entertaining, the Super Bowl is in a league of its own” – Craig Erlich, president of Star Trax Corporate, a Southfield. Mich. event planning and entertainment company (Detroit News, 1/15/06)

“The Super Bowl is a huge, rocket shot of creativity for a day with a tremendous amount of viewership.” – Bill Cella, CEO of Magna Global, which buys advertising time (USA Today, 1/6/06)

“The Super Bowl in the end has an engagement value that is second to none.” – Ed Erhardt, ad sales president for ESPN and ABC Sports (USA Today, 1/6/06)

“You have to have a product or a service that scales to the constituents. The Super Bowl is one of those properties that do a very important thing in capturing the population and the imagination all in one. It scales, it has lean-forward interest, it’s a sought-after event. And the advertising is as heralded as the game itself. It’s an experiential marketing event.” – OMD East Managing Director Mark Stewart (Ad Age, 12/9/05)

“I think the game in some ways sums up the American experience. I think a lot of people see their daily lives and the history of the country in the NFL because the game is also linked to the personality and attitude of the country. There’s a high degree of teamwork, an emphasis on toughness,” said Neal Pilson, former president of CBS Sports and now a sports TV consultant. (Washington Post, 9/8/05)

“The Super Bowl is the only event that can take over any city and stop everything that is going on. It’s going to be nonstop action. It’s going to be like no other event,” said Robert Tuchman, President of TSE Sports & Entertainment, a New York-based event planner. (Detroit Free Press, 9/8/05)

“As the old television universe disintegrates into hundreds of channels, and viewers shift time slots and skip commercials at will, the Super Bowl is one event that still puts the mass in mass marketing.” (Wall Street Journal, 1/24/05)

“There is no more mainstream advertising vehicle in the United States than the Super Bowl." – Matt Ferguson, chief executive (Wall Street Journal, 1/17/05)

“The Super Bowl is bigger than television,” said Ray Warren, managing director of Omnicom Group’s OMD, typically the largest buyer of ad time which bought 20% of the game. “The game is a national holiday. It’s the only place to put 100 million people in front of a commercial.” (Advertising Age, 1/12/04)

“They understand that they're in the event and entertainment business," said David Carter, principal of the Los Angeles-based Sports Business Group. "It just so happens that what they're producing is a football game. They make every game a happening. They have managed to brilliantly weave in pop culture. Brands at that level that don't constantly refine their approach to business have someone catch up with them.” (Orange County Register, 11/2/03)

Tom McGovern, director for sports marketing at OMD in New York, a unit of the
Omnicom Group: "The beauty of the Super Bowl is that it hasn't been impacted by the erosion of viewership and ratings that has affected the rest of television. The ability to reach half the population at one time is still there." (New York Times, 11/3/03)

News Corp. President of Sales John Nesvig: “No product sells itself, but time on NFL games comes close.” (Bloomberg News, 7/31)

“The NFL is the most recession-proof of major sports,” said John Mansell, a senior analyst at market researcher Kagan World Media. “The American public has an insatiable appetite for football.” (Bloomberg News, 7/31)

“The Super Bowl is for the big and those just hitting it big,” said Michael Sievert, AT&T Wireless CMO.

“We have very few events that transcend most of the fragmenting parts of the world. The Super Bowl is one of them.” Dr. Jay Coakley, professor of sociology at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

“It’s interesting how important football, and specifically the Super Bowl, has become to our society.” Dr. Jay Coakley

“People all over the world are attracted to events that endorse a sense of ‘we-ness.’ We love big events like the Super Bowl. We are constantly looking for a connection with each other based on the notion of nationhood. It is an opportunity for us to gather as one.”
Dr. Jay Coakley

Historically as most know Super Bowl I at the Los Angeles Coliseum didn’t sell out. Tickets were priced at $6 and $12. The late NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle flew back to New York from Los Angeles the day after the first Super Bowl and turned to Don Weiss (the man who organized many Super Bowl’s for the NFL) and told Weiss the following year’s game was going to sellout. Rozelle didn’t care how Weiss and his team accomplished that task but he told Weiss the Super Bowl II was going to sellout.

Weiss accomplished that feat and indirectly set the direction for sports sponsorship packaging that began with Super Bowl II in Miami and today is a cornerstone of every sports sponsorship agreement. Not only Super Bowl sponsorships, not only NFL sponsorships, not only sports sponsorship but every sports/entertainment sponsorships that are negotiated.

Weiss believed if he was going to sellout Super Bowl II he had to marry the sponsorship agreements the NFL had with the Detroit automobile industry to the Super Bowl. Weiss offered tickets to the NFL’s automobile sponsors, packaging NFL advertising and commercial opportunities with Super Bowl tickets. Weiss believed an event held in a warm weather city (Super Bowl II and Super Bowl III) were both played at Miami’s Orange Bowl. Weiss sold automobile executives on the concept they could create sweepstakes opportunities, employee sales incentive programs and an opportunity to use a trip to Miami in the dead of winter to entertain their biggest customers. It was Rozelle’s vision and Weiss ability to deliver that created what the Super Bowl has grown into.

The Super Bowl started as a football game most sports fans weren’t interested in. After Super Bowl III and Joe Namath’s "guaranteed" victory on the Thursday before the game, the Super Bowl became an event sports fans everywhere wanted to watch. Over the last 41 years the Super Bowl has evolved from a football game to a sports event, to the biggest sports event in any given year to a national holiday that happens to feature a sports event. Super Bowl Sunday remains the single greatest guarantee for television advertisers annually. Super Bowl Sunday is an event that long ago transcended sports, it’s the one sports event during a year when families get together and enjoy experiencing a moment in time watching a football game. Enjoy the game!!

For Sports Business this is Howard Bloom

Labels: , , ,