To the Host Goes the Spoils

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­The Super Bowl champion is the winner on the field, but the host city is the winner at the bank. The site of the Super Bowl changes each year and is chosen years in advance. The chosen city stands to benefit by millions of dollars being injected into its local economy as thousands of fans and journalists descend upon it.

The game and festivities surrounding it can have a significant economic impact on the city that hosts it. Super Bowl XXXVII infused $367 million into San Diego County, according to Marketing Information Masters. The Super Bowl had a $295 million impact on the same county in 1998.

No team has ever played a Super Bowl on its home field, but it is possible since the game is usually played in an NFL city. Cities that are attractive tourist sites, such as Miami, New Orleans and San Diego are often chosen as host cities. NFL owners vote each year on future Super Bowl sites, which are usually chosen three to four years ahead of time.

Super Bowl Tickets

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Considering the widespread interest in the Super Bowl today, it's hard to believe that the first Super Bowl didn't even sell out its venue. Fans were only mildly curious about the game between the NFL and AFL champions. It was not even shown in the Los Angeles area due to the blackout rule that prevents a non-sellout game from being televised in the area in which the game is played.

­­­­Tickets to that original Super Bowl were $6 to $12. Today, Super Bowl tickets are perhaps the most sought-after tickets in sports. The retail price for a ticket to Super Bowl XLIII in 2009 topped out at $1000, but tickets are often resold, or scalped, for many times more than their face value. In 2008, one online broker successfully sold tickets for Super Bowl XLII for $9,850 [source: Bloomberg]. Tickets are divvied up between the conference champions, the host team, the remaining 29 teams, and the NFL. The NFL distributes tickets to the public through a random drawing for the right to buy.

The lucky few who actually attend the Super Bowl are just a small fraction of the game's total audience. Those who can't attend the game watch it on television. In 2008, a record 97.8 million people watched the New York Giants beat the undefeated new England Patriots 17 to 14, representing the second largest American audience in television history (following the finale of M*A*S*H) [source: Nielsen].  The global numbers are more debatable, but the NFL claims it has a potential worldwide audience of nearly 1 billion viewers.

Where there are more than 100 million pairs of eyes watching, there are advertisers wanting to put their product in front of those eyes. In the next section, we'll look back at some of the memorable advertising campaigns that have premiered during the Super Bowl.