Inside the Super Bowl

Inside the Super Bowl

The National Football League’s world championship game was coined the Super Bowl in 1969 by Kansas City Chiefs’ owner, Lamar Hunt. This annual event has grown to become one of the biggest sporting attractions across the globe, consistently commanding more than 80 million TV viewers in the U.S. and is one of the most sought after tickets in town.

The game and its ancillary events, which are spread over a two-week period, are estimated to cost the NFL over $60 million per year. The price tag for this year’s matchup between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants includes the hiring of three national security firms, rental of the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, and the staging of several charity functions and tailgate parties for more than 10,000 VIP guests.

Other budget items include $750,000 for 150 Super Bowl rings priced at $5,000 a piece and $25,000 for the Lombardi Trophy, made exclusively by Tiffany & Co.

According to Brian McCarthy, the NFL’s vice president of corporate communications, the Super Bowl is surprisingly not a huge moneymaker for the league and “makes up only a sliver of the $6.5 billion in revenues” the powerful brand generates annually.

“The revenue that we make off the Super Bowl comes from three major buckets. We charge the network,” which, this year will be Fox, [licensing fees] in exchange for rights year-round to air NFL games, including the Super Bowl. “We also sell approximately $100 million in merchandise. This includes 500 various items containing the official Super Bowl logo as well as year-round sponsorship partners like IBM, Gatorade and others who pay the league for the to use that logo. Everything enters the marketplace five months before the game.” The game airs live on Feb. 3. The final source is “hundreds of thousands generated from concessions sold on game day,” says McCarthy.

Tickets for the Super Bowl are priced at $700–$900 by the NFL but are often scalped for thousands more because they are hard to come by. Seventy-five percent of the allotment is sold to the league’s 32 franchise teams that distribute most of them through a lottery for season ticket holders. The remaining stubs are given to sponsors and charities.


League Office 25.2%
AFC Team 17.5%
NFC Team 17.5%
Other 29 Teams 34.8% (1.2% each)
Host Team 5%

McCarthy says, “The NFL keeps the other 25% for its own lottery that awards 500 general fans with a set of tickets through a promotional sweepstakes held one year prior to each game. We also hold some back for major corporations such as Pepsi who have a certain allotment built into their sponsorship contracts.”

One line of business that reaps benefits from the game is The division has a special Super URL, which is the only place on the Web with actual game footage and highlights. It is most active from January through February and generates five million unique visitors during that time period. The boost in traffic equates