Super Bowl XLIX Is Already Setting Records
Business + Economy

Super Bowl XLIX Is Already Setting Records

The Super Bowl is getting bigger in every way this year, with average ticket prices hitting new highs and a record number of Americans planning to watch the game on TV.

The average ticket price for Super Bowl XLIX ballooned to $6,459.21 on Sunday evening – that’s up more than 114 percent from last year’s average of $3,015.99 at the same date, according to TiqIQ. The University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, near Phoenix, can hold 73,000 people. Last year’s Super Bowl, at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, was attended by 82,529 fans.

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Although ticket prices for the big football event went down by 18 percent immediately after the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks won on Jan. 18 to reach the championship game – most likely due to people starting to get bored about watching the Patriots play in the Super Bowl for the eighth time – the prices quickly rose again last week.

Meanwhile, between 171 million and 184 million people are expected to watch the game on TV on Sunday Feb. 1, up from 111.5 million last year. Many will be either hosting a party or attending one. Total spending on new TVs, athletic gear, decorations, and game day food — the most common expense — is expected to reach $14.3 billion, according to predictions from the National Retail Federation.

Chicken wings will be the grub of choice for many Americans: Some 1.25 billion wings will be gobbled up during Super Bowl Sunday, says the National Chicken Council, which tracks such things. The average wholesale price of wings is currently at $1.71 a pound, up from $1.35 at the same time last year but down from a record high of $2.11 in January 2013. Some of the most popular sauces include ranch dressing, barbeque sauce and blue cheese dressing.

As a bonus this year, viewers won’t even need cable to watch the game at home. NBC said it plans to live stream the event online for free, including the half-time show, which features Kate Perry and Lenny Kravitz.

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Americans typically tune in to Super Bowl Sunday almost as much for the ads (41.3 percent of Americans surveyed by NRF) as they do for the game itself (46.8 percent). Naturally advertisers go to great length to reach these viewers.

A 30-second ad spot costs, on average, $4.5 million, while advertisers are expected to spend a total of $359 million on the big game this year, according to data from WalletHub. Since 2010, Anheuser-Bush has spent $152 million on advertising during the Super Bowl.

Some Super Bowl ads are already available to view online, including Victoria Secret’s or this T-Mobile commercial, where Kim Kardashian makes fun of herself.

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It’s increasingly questionable, however, whether the investment in TV air time as well as in a commercial’s production costs are worth it for advertisers. New research from Stanford University suggests Super Bowl ads aren’t always efficient at driving sales.

While they can generate significant increases in sales revenue, especially for beer and soda companies, this isn’t true when two competing brands both advertise during the Super Bowl.

“Super Bowl ads can spur large increases in revenue and volume per household, but when two major competing brands advertise, most of the gains are eroded,” wrote Clifton B. Parker at Tuesday, citing the study.

This may be why some companies have chosen to cut back on the costs associated with producing TV ads. For the ninth year in a row, Doritos has asked the general public to submit a potential Super Bowl ad, slicing its production costs. It received almost 4,900 entries from around the world and has selected 10 finalists for the public to vote on.

The formula seems to be paying off: Dorito commercials during the Super Bowl have been some of the most effective of the big evening over the years.

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