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How the Super Bowl Works

By: Kevin Bonsor & John Donovan  | 

Super Bowl Tickets

Super Bowl
Super Bowl tickets are some of the toughest tickets to get your hands on. Icon Sportswire/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Considering the widespread interest in the Super Bowl, it's hard to believe that the first Super Bowl didn't even sell out the cavernous Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. It wasn't even shown on TV 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, especially so in 2021 when attendance at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium will be severely restricted because of COVID-19 concerns. The average Super Bowl ticket sells for thousands of dollars, with tickets often resold, or scalped, for many times more than their face value.

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Tickets normally are divvied up between the conference champions, the host team, the remaining teams, and the NFL. Because of the ongoing pandemic, 2021 promises to be drastically different.

The lucky few who actually attend the Super Bowl make up just a small fraction of the game's total audience. Those who can't attend the game watch it on television. In 2015, a record 114.4 million people watched the New England Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks 28-24, making the game the most watched TV broadcast in U.S. history [source: Patten]. The global numbers are not quite as clear, but the NFL claims it has a potential worldwide audience of nearly 1 billion viewers.

With more than 100 million pairs of eyes watching, advertisers clamor to put their product s 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.

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