Tomorrow is Super Bowl LI, or ‘51’ if you’re not Roman (aside: weren’t they going to stop using the Roman numerals past 49?). Most of the years, the game is total crap – the insane Patriots win over the Seahawks two years ago being a notable exception – and that would be especially fitting this year in which almost every week and the playoffs featured games that were crap (the Green Bay win over Dallas a few weeks ago being a notable exception).
Still, even as television ratings drop across the board, that undoubtedly will not be the case with the Super Bowl. First and foremost because the beloved/hated New England Patriots and Tom Brady/Bill Belichick are in the game. But also because it’s an event that transcends the sport, with just as many people watching to see the commercials. Which is crazy when you stop to think about it. Why wouldn’t advertisers
just make such great and affecting commercials the other 364 days of the year?
The answer, of course, is cost and reach. It would be far too expensive to produce special commercials for each day (though the advertisers wouldn’t have to pay the same ridiculous fee to air the ad in the Super Bowl slot). And because television viewing is becoming so fragmented, not nearly enough people would see it to justify the cost of the ad itself.
This is why the Super Bowl remains unique. It’s the perfect storm of a great television sport (again, even if the game itself sucks) mixed with sheer numbers and demographics you simply can’t reach all at once anywhere else anymore. But will this always be the case? What if football declines
in stature, as I think it will
? What if television continues to fragment
and the networks have to start thinking about if it make sense to pay for all the super expensive sports rights
? Would the Super Bowl ever move to cable or even as crazy as it may sound, Netflix/Amazon/etc? Direct-to-fans in some newfangled pay-per-view scheme? Hard to see that now (I think football will decline before that happens). But the world is changing quickly
BTW, I only tend to bet on sports if I happen to be in Las Vegas when games are on. But if I were betting, I’d bet on the Patriots here to cover.