NEXT MONTH, ONE of America’s biggest holidays will return again: Super Bowl Sunday, the finale to the NFL season in which two teams will fight for the right to call themselves ‘World Champions’.
With the competition set for Super Bowl LII. Which will see the 13-3 AFC Champions New England Patriots face off against the 13-3 NFC Champions Philedelphia Eagles in a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX, which saw the Patriots win. New England are attempting to become the first team since themselves 2004, 2005 to win back to back Super Bowls.
The event has a massive audience. Around 180 million people in the US will be tuning in, around half of the nation’s population. While still on the fringes of mainstream sport in the UK, a further two million will be watching from the UK, a huge rise from the 820 000 who watched the Giants beat the Patriots in 2008.
This growth in UK popularity can be attributed to the development of the NFL International Series Games being held in the city of London. Starting in 2007, regular season games have been held in London and this has bolstered calls for a London-based franchise. The Super Bowl is the showpiece end to the NFL and this year, its 52nd iteration will be held at the US Bank Stadium in Minnesota.
The game has included some of the biggest moments in the history of the sport including last year’s Patriots coming back from 25 points down to defeat the Falcons in the first ever Super Bowl to go to over-time.
Before the game, the national anthem will be performed by P!nk, an event that has added significance given the recent protest controversies. Previous game performers have included Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. The Half-Time Show has grown into a spectacle in its own right, with it being a rite of passage for any superstar. This year will see Justin Timberlake as the main performer for the second time. His first Half-Time Show appearance lives in infamy after he accidentally ripped off a piece of Janet Jackson’s clothing.
The Super Bowl is huge for the American economy with 30 seconds of ad time costing an eye-watering $5 million. Companies aren’t the only ones spending big though. Overall, on food, decorations and team apparel, it is estimated that Americans will spend around $14.1bn more than on Halloween or Independence Day. During the game an estimated 1.33bn chicken wings and 12.5m pizzas will be eaten with a further $2.3 bn will be spent on alcohol. For those wanting to see the match live in Minnesota, they will have to pay an average of $2,500 for tickets.
All of this combines to create the magic of the Super Bowl: the two best teams clashing on the biggest stage,
Coverage of the Super Bowl will be on Sunday 4 February on BBC One, Sky Sports Main Event and NFL Game Pass. Kick off is at 11:30pm and the game will finish at around 4am.