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Sunday, 31 January, 1999, 15:07 GMT
Super Bowl XXXII: The money game
The Packer's quarterback Brett Favre faces the media frenzy
The Packers' quarterback Brett Favre faces the media frenzy
Sunday's Super Bowl match between the Green Bay Packers and the Denver Broncos will set yet more records - and these are just the results achieved off the pitch.

The media interest is unprecedented. Around 3,000 journalists have been accredited to the Super Bowl, and it is not only the American media who are trying to cover every possible angle surrounding the event. This year there will be over 400 foreign journalists present, more than the total number of reporters covering Super Bowl I.

All this journalistic man power (and most of the reporters are men) should ensure total coverage. The size of the audience seems to justify their efforts.

Super Bowl XXXII is bound to become the most watched programme of 1998 in the United States. Seven of the top ten rated shows of all time on American television are Super Bowls.

Qualcomm stadium
71,500 seats - and 800 million people would like to be there
And thanks to aggressive marketing, American Football is gaining more and more fans abroad. At kick-off on Sunday afternoon (15:18 San Diego time, 23:18 GMT), nearly 800 million people world-wide are expected to watch, up 50m from last year.

The game will be broadcast in 17 languages, from Chinese to Thai. According to the organisers, football addicts in 187 countries will be able to tune in - provided they can muster a satellite dish if they live in one of the more remote parts of the globe.

The Internet community can join the fun as well. The official Superbowl website is offering online chats with players and live web casts of press conferences both in the run-up to and after the match.

But of course nothing can beat being there. San Diego's Qualcomm stadium has 71,500 seats, and with the average price for a ticket at just under $300, the receipts at the gate will add up to nearly $20m. This does not include the profit made by the numerous ticket touts trying to make a fast buck.

With all that media exposure, advertisers around the world are trying to join the game. However, any company wanting to flog its products to US viewers during the match will need a big marketing budget. This year a slot for a one-minute commercial will set you back $2.5m.

Holiday Inn commercial
She's looking good, but the viewers did not like the commercial
This money could be a good investment - if the advertisement is a success. That, however, cannot be guaranteed as Holiday Inn, a hotel chain, discovered last year. In its commercial it tried to compare the hotel chains makeover with a sex-change operation.

The supposedly funny commercial went down like a stone and was pulled off the airwaves within 48 hours.

Still, considering the size of the viewing figures and the large amounts of money advertisers are prepared to pay, American television stations see football coverage as a vital ingredient of their schedules. Earlier this month four television networks - ABC, CBS, Fox and ESPN - paid $18bn for the television rights to the games of the National Football League. The deal covers eight years, and amounts to a price tag of around $35m per game.

Finally, there are the men handling the ball on the field, many of them millionaires. They play for the honour of winning, plus a little bonus: $48,000 for every player in the winning team and $30,000 for every loser.

See also:

23 Jan 98 | Super Bowl XXXII
Links to more Super Bowl XXXII stories are at the foot of the page.


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Links to more Super Bowl XXXII stories

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