In the USA, the Super Bowl is one of the most watched broadcasts on TV, with an estimated 130-140 million people tuning in to catch at least some of the game. It’s the pinnacle of American Football, which sees the winners of the NFL (National Football League) take on the winners of the AFC (American Football League) to determine the ultimate champions of the season. In the run up to Super Bowl 50, we take a look at seven interesting facts about the Super Bowl.
1. How did the Super Bowl start?
The NFL was created in 1920. Rival American football leagues were set up, but none of them proved to be serious competition to the NFL until the AFL formed in 1960. The AFL began competing with the NFL for players and fans to the extent that by 1966 a merger agreement had taken place between the two leagues. The Super Bowl came about as a result of this merger. The champions of each league would play each other and once the merger officially took place in 1970, the leagues would be renamed ‘conferences’. The winner of this game, later to be named the Super Bowl, would be the NFL champion.
2. The first ever super bowl
The first ever Super Bowl took place on the 15th of January 1967 between the NFL’s Green Bay Packers and the AFL’s Kansas City at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Green Bay Packers won 35–10. They also went on to win against The Oakland Raiders the following year.
3. Who has won it the most?
The most wins goes to The Pittsburgh Steelers who have won six Super Bowls out of the eight they have played, closely followed by the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers who both have five wins. The most recent winners are the AFC’s New England Patriots who beat the previous year’s winners the Seattle Seahawks in 2015 to win their fourth Super Bowl.
4. The Trophy and the rings
The winning team takes the Vince Lombardi Trophy. This is named in honour of the legendary coach who took the Green Bay Packers to their first two Super Bowl wins in 1967 and 1968. The trophy itself is 21 inches high, weighs seven pounds and is worth a staggering $25,000. The winning team is also awarded with up to 150 sought-after rings to symbolise their win, each of which have a value of around $5,000. These are handed out to the players and others involved with the team, including players who didn’t appear in the game, but played during the season, ex-players and back room staff. They’re typically made of gold and diamonds and contain a design with the team name and logo and the number of the Super Bowl in Roman numerals.
5. Most watched TV
The 2015 Super Bowl was the most watched American TV programme is history, the average audience being 114.4 million watchers, and with approximately 120 to 130 million viewers tuning in at some point to catch the game. The Super Bowl now holds nine out of the top ten spots for most watched television broadcasts of all time in the US. It is also up there in most watched TV sports broadcasts globally, coming second only to Europe’s UEFA Champions League Final.
6. The commercials
The television adverts aired during the broadcast are now much talked about. As a result of such huge audience figures, the cost of placing a TV ad during the broadcast is around $4.5 million for just 30 seconds of air time. The expense and quality of the adverts has become part of the event, with major companies creating their prime adverts to be broadcast at this time.
7. How do you get to host it?
The decision as to where the game will be held is made several years before the event. Cities bid to hold the game, and it’s very competitive. A leaked document in 2014 helped to clear up some of the stipulations that must be met in order to stand a chance of hosting the event.
These include a reasonably mild climate. The game is not typically awarded to any location in which the day temperature falls below 10 degrees Celsius, unless there is a retractable roof. The host stadium should also be somewhere that has an NFL team, although it is not a stipulation to use the NFL stadium, and the stadium needs to have at least 70,000 seats.
There must be a minimum of 35,000 parking spaces within a mile of the stadium and hotel spaces within an hour’s drive able to meet at least 35 per cent of the stadium’s capacity, and to meet the needs of players, officials and media personnel associated with the event.
There should also be the local infrastructure to accommodate space for the NFL Experience entertainment area, and other entertainment such as bowling alleys and golf courses. Both teams should have access to training areas of equal quality with one field of the same surface as the host stadium and one grass field, within twenty minutes of the stadium. There should also be facilities for entertainment acts to rehearse leading up to the event.