Super Bowl Sunday, in many people’s minds, is a national holiday. And, as with any holiday in this country, that means sales. Big sales. Now, while you might think instantly that we’re gonna talk about TV sales, let’s hold off on that for a minute.
This year, the sale for those must-see commercial timeslots started, and ended early. 30-second ad space during the game was almost sold out before September, and completely gone by Thanksgiving, long before we even had a hint as to what teams would be playing. The reality is that the majority of TV viewers don’t even care who’s playing. Those ads sold for a record $3.5 million. Last year, ads sold out quicker, but were cheaper, at around $3 million. To give you an idea of how important the game has become, a 30-second spot went for around $2.2 million just 10 years ago. Keep in mind that many of the ads are 60-second spots, or longer. And forget about how much companies pay to produce those commercials. Matthew Broderick and Jerry Seinfeld don’t come cheap.
Another sign of how important Super Sunday is to the economy is how much people spend on food for the game. Ridiculous as it sounds, people spend up to $60 per viewer. A study by Turbo Tax figured that’s about $10 billion in Super Bowl spending. That includes $50 million on beer, $184 million on potato chips, $145 million on tortilla chips, $40 million on pretzels, and almost $12 million on rice cakes. Rice cakes? I don’t care how big your TV is, if that’s what you’re serving, I’m not coming to your house.
Want something more substantial than snacks? Papa John’s expects to sell about 750,000 pizzas on Sunday, which is nothing compared to the 1.2 million that Domino’s is planning to deliver. Pizza Hut expects to move 1.7 million pizzas during the game. That’s a whole lotta cheese.
Now, how are you going to watch the game? Before you rush out to any one of the major retailers screaming about their amazing Big Game Sales Events for a new 3D TV, it must be noted that — amazingly — said Big Game will still not be broadcast in 3D. If 3D is ever going to go mainstream, it must be done in a big way. I’ll venture to say that if 3D wants to make the leap, it has to do it on an event like this. If not now, when? Why not make the one event that most Americans tune in to a primer on 3D goodness? I'd bet that would drive more people to upgrade to 3D than any movie release could. Listen up manufacturers: put your advertising dollars into sponsoring a 3D broadcast of the game. Obviously, it’s not that easy, but something needs to happen, and happen soon.
So tell us: did you buy a TV, this year or in the past, specifically for the game? On Monday, let us know what your favorite commercial was. But first, what are you serving on Sunday? If you’re spending $60 per person for your snacks, I’ll be over for the coin toss.
Leslie Shapiro has been an audio engineer for 25 years, with experience in television, film, and the music industry. She is also a member of NARAS, which gives her the coveted privilege of voting for the Grammy Awards.