Sports Business

The business, economics and culture of Super Bowl 50

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The business, economics and culture of Super Bowl 50

1. Super Bowl 50 is set to be a classic matchup of old vs new, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos pitted against hot-handed Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. And if you want to see this game in person, it will cost you. According to VividSeats.com, a secondary market for sports and entertainment, and SeatGeek, SB50 is shaping up to be the most expensive in NFL history. The cheapest ticket available for the Feb. 7 game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., is $3,224, and the most expensive comes in at a whopping $12,785, as of this past Monday. The website’s median price for tickets sold thus far is $4,180 — the cheapest seat in the house was sold for $3,000 in the upper level corner of the 49ers' home. Of those who have already bought tickets from the website, 37 percent are from California, 8 percent are from Texas and Florida each, and 7 percent and 6 percent are from Illinois and New York, respectively.

2. While a significant portion of NFL fans will never be fortunate enough to see their team make it all the way to the Super Bowl, those who are lucky enough will not be able to follow their team to the big game for nothing. Immediately following their wins this past Sunday, both the Panthers and Broncos posted travel packages for its fans through PrimeSport, a Los Angeles-based sports travel packager. The cheapest option comes in at $180 per person, which merely buys you a ticket to your team’s pregame tailgate in the parking lot. If you wanted to actually go to the game as well, buying the cheapest seat available, that number jumps all the way up to $3,507.50. If you wanted to fly to San Jose, arriving for the pregame and departing immediately after, that number begins to hover are the $6,000 marker — being more expensive for Charlotte fans than Denver fans. Three-night land packages (no flight) at each team’s three hotels ranging from $5,935 to $6,805 per person for Carolina fans at the Marriott Fisherman’s Wharf, Embassy Suites at Burlingame or the Sir Francis Drake on Union Square or $5,795 to $5,995 per person for Denver fans at the Holiday Inn Fisherman’s Wharf or Marriott Marquis in San Francisco. No matter how you want to approach the prospect of attending Super Bowl 50, it sure won’t be cheap.

3. With Super Bowl 50 quickly approaching in the next few weeks, the event’s host committee — in collaboration with in/PACT and Citizen Group, has launched “Play Your Part,” a campaign focusing on reducing impact on climate change by delivering a low emissions event and responsibly using materials and resources, all while inspiring fans to embrace sustainability themselves. Prizes will be given out by the event’s host committee to leading fans that enter and engage in the campaign. Sustainability Director for the Bay Area Super Bowl 50 Host Committee and President of in/PACT Sports & Entertainment Neill Duffy spoke about “Play Your Part’s” course of action leading up to the game. “We’re asking fans to do three things ... take action, choose your cause, win prizes. Fans take action by either: a) taking a pledge to do something sustainable, e.g. host a sustainable SB party, or b) actually do something sustainable when visiting Super Bowl City, e.g. leave the car at home, bring their own reusable water bottle or recycle responsibly.” The Super Bowl’s host site, Levi's Stadium, is the perfect venue to foster this campaign, as it became the first stadium in the United States that is home to a professional football team to receive LEED Gold certification upon construction.

4. Super Bowl 50’s reach is going to span far beyond Levi's Stadium, as events will range all the way from the Embarcadero in San Francisco to Mission College in Santa Clara, hitting various other Silicon Valley hot spots along the way. The area has prepared by already designating a special lane on Highway 101 between San Francisco and San Jose for buses and limousines heading to the game. Meanwhile, the Valley Transit Authority is prepared to transport exactly 12,000 passengers to Levi’s on Super Bowl Sunday via VTA’s train system. A round trip transport to and from the game on these trains will cost a mere $20 and is set to be one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways of getting the football’s new mecca. Santa Clara council member Lisa Gillmor spoke of her anxiety and excitement surrounding her city’s hospitality. "I'm nervous but optimistic that Santa Clara is going to come through this with shining colors," she said. "I want to make sure that we showcase our city to the country and the world."

5. With recent hard-hitting storms on the East Coast, more bad weather is expected to make its way to the Bay Area just in time for Super Bowl 50. In a front-page newspaper piece in the San Francisco Chronicle this past week, Alexander & Rubenstein noted the likely chance that the days surrounding the matchup “will be significantly wetter than normal.” But NFL officials were quick to note that they “have contingencies in place for rain, from the new weather-tested turf laid at Levi’s Stadium to plans to keep the microphones dry for Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars during the halftime show.” While there is still a chance that the heavy rains foil out or miss Levi's Stadium and the surrounding area completely, the NFL is preparing for any possible weather pattern that might hit. “The football gods have been with us throughout the history of the Super Bowl. We’ve been fortunate to not have the weather as a factor,” said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy. “And if it is a factor, well, that’s football.”

6. There are two reasons why people watch the Super Bowl: for the game itself and for the advertisements that come in between the action. This year, a few lesser-known brands will take their chances, spending big bucks to market their product during one of the world’s most-watched events. Bai, the maker of low-calorie health beverages, will make its first Super Bowl appearance with a 30-second commercial. The commercial will be "a new entry in Bai's 'None of This Makes Sense' campaign." Employing the shop's "trademark absurdist humor, the work presented oddball characters in weird situations asking why Bai — brimming with antioxidants and packing only five calories — tastes so good." Similarly, SoFi, a student-loan refinancing, mortgage and personal loan company, will ramp up “a $20 million TV and digital ad effort with a spot during Super Bowl 50 ... spending about 20 percent of its annual ad budget on the Super Bowl push," noted Suzanne Vranica of the Wall Street Journal.

7. After missing its chance last year, Snapchat has changed its sales tactics in order to capitalize on the Super Bowl’s popularity, according to Garett Sloane of Digiday. With Marriott, Budweiser, Pepsi and Amazon signed on as sponsors, the increasingly popular social media platform has sold out its Live Story with the NFL for Super Bowl 50. Video advertisements for participating companies are set to run in between the game’s Live Story. Budweiser will only be allowed to advertise to users who are 21 years or old, drastically decreasing their reach for the Broncos-Panthers matchup. Financial details have not yet been released for these advertising partners, but the overall revenue for Snapchat is expected to reach the “low seven figures” for the whole offered package. Sources said that Snapchat for this year's game "switched tactics" from targeting a single sponsor and instead "looked for multiple sponsors" in an attempt to bring in more revenue, citing the more sponsors, the more money.

8. Superstition is a real thing in sports, and the Super Bowl is certainly no exception to that. Broncos executive vice president and general manager John Elway is taking no chances of bad luck when his team squares off with the Panthers, hence his decision to wear white vs. the Panthers. Elway spoke earlier this week on that decision, saying, “We’ve had Super Bowl success in our white uniforms, and we’re looking forward to wearing them again in Super Bowl 50.” The Broncos have worn their home orange jerseys on four separate occasions in blowout Super Bowl losses. The last time they won in white was in the 1998 championship — overall in the Super Bowl, Denver is 0-4 in orange, 1-1 in white and 1-0 in blue.

9. While NFL players have been increasingly fined these past few years for excessive celebrations after touchdowns and big plays, one company is actually promoting excessive celebrations in the Super Bowl. This past week, Nestle’s Butterfinger brand announced that it plans to cover “up to $50,000 in excessive celebration fines levied against NFL players through Super Bowl 50” as part of its “Bolder Than Bold” Super Bowl campaign, according to Adweek.com. Former NFL receiver Terrell Owens, largely known for his own planned excessive celebrations, and comedian Billy Eichner were selected to make this announcement on behalf of Butterfinger. Owens and Eichner were seen on the streets of New York City asking people to show off their boldest end-zone celebrations in exchange for a Butterfinger bar. The campaign is certainly innovative, as this marks a first for a company willingly picking up players’ fine tabs.

10. Digital and online advertising has exploded these past few years, as platforms and companies are finding new and innovative ways to incorporate ads all around the web. After hitting a record 840 million minutes of Super Bowl ads on YouTube, the platform has once again elected to bring back YouTube AdBlitz — a YouTube channel and separate website where fans can view and vote for their favorite ads before they air on game day. While this service has been available each of the last seven years, Tara Walpert Levy, managing director of agency sales at Google, said its reach has grown exponentially in recent years. Last year alone, people watched the equivalent of 1,600 years of Super Bowl ads on YouTube, and nearly 40 percent of that viewing time actually occurred before the game itself, with another 300,000 hours of ads watching during the game. With last year’s Super Bowl matchup between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks being the most-watched broadcast in television history, it makes sense for YouTube to capitalize on this opportunity.

Kelly Crull talks about covering the Bulls with Laurence Holmes

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NBC Sports Chicago

Kelly Crull talks about covering the Bulls with Laurence Holmes

Laurence Holmes hosts the "House of L Podcast" in addition to his role on radio and as host of the Football After Show for NBC Sports Chicago.  On the podcast, Holmes provides a more in-depth look at media and how it works.

The most recent episode is an interview with our own Kelly Crull, who in addition to covering the Chicago Cubs during games will be working as a sideline reporter during Bulls games this NBA season.

Crull talks to Holmes about the challenge of covering two beats, one beginning immediately after the start of the season. . Crull talks about returning to her first love, basketball, and also sheds light on what drives her in her career. The pair also discuss locker room and clubhouse etiquette

The Daily Line: Week 7 Football Picks

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NBC Sports Chicago

The Daily Line: Week 7 Football Picks

The Supreme Court opened the door for sports betting legalization with its May ruling that struck down a 1992 law that banned commercial sports betting in most states. Sports betting is not yet legal in Illinois, but with football season underway, former Northwestern offensive lineman Eric Olson will take a weekly look at the odds surrounding the action on the field.

YTD record: 21-7 against the spread (11-1 in last 12)

New England Patriots vs. Chicago Bears 10/21 12:00pm CT

Line: Pats -3
Betting Percentages Split: 76% of the tickets on the Pats
The play: Bears +3

Listen here. I am not being a homer. In fact, I am from the Boston area and have been rooting for the Patriots my entire life. This is simply a great spot for the Bears. You have a Patriots team that is coming off the biggest win any team has had this season, beating the seemingly unbeatable Kansas City Chiefs in primetime. On the other side, you have a Bears team that just turned in one of the most disappointing performances of the season, losing outright to the Miami Dolphins and Brock Osweiler as a 7 point favorite. The Pats have been terrible outside of Foxboro and this is probably the best team they have faced on the road thus far this season. Additionally, this line has stayed firm at 3 and has even moved to 2.5 in some places despite the massive bet discrepancy favoring the Pats. What does that tell us? That the Pros are all over the Bears and refuse to move the line despite the public being all over New England. Ride the home town team catching points at Soldier Field.

Buffalo Bills vs Indianapolis Colts 10/7 1:00pm CT

Line: Colts -7
Betting Percentages Split: 55% of tickets on Colts
The play: Bills +7

If you have been reading my column throughout this NFL season you know I love bad NFL games. Go where nobody wants to go, get dirty and pick gross teams. I also have been pretty successful picking my spots betting on the Bills this year and I love going back to the well here. Simply put, the Colts should not be laying 7 points to ANYBODY at this point of the season. Sean McDermott decided to go with Derek Anderson this week and according to reports, this was to the delight of the locker room as they do not have to endure another Peterman Pix-Six Bonanza. I think this could give the Bills a little spark and anything that Anderson has left in the tank will be on display Sunday against the worst defense in the NFL. Circle those wagons, take the Bills and the points.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs 10/21 7:20pm CT

Line: Chiefs -6
Betting Percentages Split: 75% of tickets on the Chiefs
The play: Bengals +6

Good loses are a real thing in the NFL when it comes to betting perception. Not a single person is knocking the Chiefs for their primetime loss to the Pats in Foxboro. I think Vegas could have set this line at a touchdown and the public would still jump all over the Chiefs. What does that tell you? I think this a questions bettors need to ask themselves more often. What it probably tells you is that Vegas values the Bengals more than the general public does and they aren't as bought into the Chiefs hype. Side with the house, fade the public and take a very solid Bengals team getting 6 points playing a Chiefs team having to get up for two straight primetime games.

New York Giants vs. Atlanta Falcons 10/22 7:20pm CT

Line: Falcons -5.5
Betting Percentages Split: 75% of tickets on the Falcons
The play: Giants +5.5

I said that week of 10/7 was my grossest set of picks to date. What happened that week you ask? I went 5-0. Pick your spots and bet bad teams in the NFL. It works. This league does not operate the way you want it to and you have to be willing to make picks that feel ‘off’. Here is another example of that. By any eye test, this makes no sense. The Giants are in the running for the worst team in the NFL and the Falcons, while overall disappointing, still have shown flashes of their talented roster that brought them to Super Bowl two years ago. However, when you move past the surface, you see a matchup that actually really favors the Giants. The Falcons are ravaged by injuries on both sides of the ball and the Falcons have one of the worst defenses in the league and will not be able to exploit the Giants porous O-Line like other teams have. I think these matchups are why Vegas set this line so low and why it has even moved in the Giants direction despite heavy public Atlanta action. Hold your nose and bet the G-men. 

Bonus College Game

Mississippi State vs. LSU 10/20 6:00pm CT

Line: LSU -6.5
Betting Percentages Split: 60% of tickets on LSU
The play: Mississippi State +6.5 (get 7 if you can)

LSU is the most overvalued team in the country. They have actually been out-gained in 4 of their 6 wins. That is an ABSURD statistic that just screams regression as the year carries on. Mississippi State has a really, really good defense and should be able to fluster Joe Burrow all day long. The Bulldogs put it to LSU last year and I expect them to show up again. Take Miss State and the points. Sprinkle the moneyline while you’re at it.