Social Commerce

Inside The $620M Super Bowl

“Even now I know what you are thinking!”

Those are the words of “The Amazing Kreskin” — mentalist, comedian and self-proclaimed mind reader — who’s made a fortune over the last 50 years getting up in front of audiences and reading their minds.

There are many situations in which Kreskin and his skill set could have come in handy. For instance, those political pollsters in Iowa are probably kicking themselves for not having him on board since (clearly) what people said they were going to do in their various Caucus sessions, and what they actually did, were very different.

Reading their minds might have been really helpful.

Then, there’s getting inside the minds of those sports fans on the eve of the world’s main sporting event: the Super Bowl.

But unlike one’s political preferences, which many might hold closer to their vest, their Super Bowl preferences might not be the sort of thing that a mind reader might need to be called in to help with. When asked, most people would probably have strong opinions – ready to be voiced – on the following three Super Bowl-related questions:

  • Broncos or Panthers?
  • Will Peyton get his second ring and retire?
  • Buffalo wings or nachos?

Even without The Amazing Kreskin, the good news is we have some real insight into how many might answer those questions:

  • If it isn’t the Patriots, who really cares?
  • Patriots fans would really like to see Peyton retire, ringless.
  • Both!

Then again, there are other questions for which the answers might not be so straightforward, like: Just how much money does the Super Bowl generate (and how much do consumers spend going?)

Glad you asked – and we don’t even need Kreskin’s help to get the answers.


How Much Money Is The Super Bowl Worth To The NFL?

A whole lot – like nearly two-thirds of a billion dollars. Mike Ozanian over at Forbes says it is in the neighborhood of $620 million.

Not surprisingly, the vast bulk of those dollars come from advertising revenue, which is projected to net a whopping $375 million. A 30-second spot these days costs a cool $5 million — up from $4.4 million a year ago. That means that when you see Alec Baldwin hawking Echo or PayPal redefining money, you can know they wanted your eyeballs so much that they just paid $2.5 million for 15 seconds’ worth of access to them.

The remaining $245 million or so comes from licensing. The NFL will sell a lot of jerseys and other merchandise in the run-up to the big game — netting another $145 million.

The third biggest revenue generator for the NFL is tickets and concessions for the game itself, which ring the register for around $88 million.

The smallest piece of the pie as far as the NFL is concerned is the Pepsi halftime show, which is currently projected to bring in about $12 million more.

But that is only the NFL’s piece of the halftime pie. There are many more millions to go around, as our friends at eBay were nice enough to demonstrate with yet more big game data.


So What Did eBay Bring To The Super Bowl Data Potluck?

While most of are preparing for the big game by making wings and nachos, the gang over at eBay’s data lab decided to do a rather unusual pregame tailgate. Instead of serving beverages and food, they decided to “analyze troves of historical buying behavior data related to previous winners, top-selling players and halftime performers.”

Different strokes for different folks, we suppose.

But scanning those troves of data did pick up several interesting bites of information.

For example, there is an answer to that first question:


Broncos or Panthers?

The American people have spoken — and this year the answer is a pretty resounding vote in favor of the Broncos, as eBay’s “heat map of fandom” seen below demonstrates. That map shows the locations and intensity of sales of the two Super Bowl teams’ merchandise on eBay in the run-up to the big game.

Carolina is not without fans, though. Of course, there is a deep blue pocket in the Southeast United States where one would expect it, as well as a healthy mix in the upper-Midwest.


Close observers of the map will also notice that although merchants are selling Super Bowl merchandise in almost every U.S. region (even places like Minnesota, Wisconsin and Texas with some very dedicated Super Bowl team fans), Patriots territory here in New England is a complete dead zone.

Is anyone really surprised? Seriously.

If the heat map is to be believed, no Colorado or Carolina merchandise has been sold on eBay between Connecticut and Maine between when training camp began last summer and now.

We point this out to prove that our first answer in the introduction to the Broncos vs. Panthers question (who cares if it isn’t the Patriots) is also supported by eBay’s data and not simply our own biases.


The Second Most Important Match-Up? The Jersey Bowl

The big question going into the big game (other than the obvious) is, will Peyton Manning keep his crown as the highest selling jersey headliner playing?

In his last appearance, Manning captured the record from previous crown holder Tom Brady (in 2008; he sold fewer jerseys last year for some reason) with over 10,000 shirts bearing his name sold by the time the ball kicked off in 2014.

Cam Newton, with his rapidly emerging rock star status in the game, has put some impressive numbers up on the board: 7,500 jerseys sold since Jan. 8 and counting, meaning he could give the reigning champ a run for his money.

There’s probably some symbolism in there somewhere, but we’re not sports writers, so moving on to something we do understand …


The Halftime Show: What It Sells Best May Surprise You

Coldplay will be the headlining act at the Super Bowl this year — because there is nothing football fans like better than earnest, mopey rock music played by a British band that is likely wondering when the big soccer game is going to get underway.

Although we do like their new single, “Adventure of a Lifetime.”

The good news for Coldplay is that they will likely see a bump in the record sales, as is traditional following a Super Bowl appearance. Coldplay will also be joined by Beyonce and Bruno Mars — the latter of whom is somewhat of a Super Bowl halftime icon, at least according to eBay’s data. Following his 2014 Super Bowl performance, Bruno Mars saw a 244 percent leap in eBay record sales in the week after the Super Bowl.

The Black Eyed Peas came in as a distant second with a 101 percent increase in 2011. Last year’s performance from Katy Perry (and her Left Shark) inspired a 71 percent bump, Beyonce (2013) got a 69 percent lift and Madonna (2012) got a modest 31 percent increase in sales.

The bad news for Coldplay is that unless there is something more to Coldplay than we know right now, their windfall will be limited to music sales. Katy Perry and Beyonce, of course, did cash in on music sales, but that’s not where they brought in the biggest revenue in the aftermath of their performances.

According to eBay’s data, Katy P and the Queen B made the bulk of their money post-Super Bowl on their perfume lines. This means that millions of Americans saw this:

Beyonce Super BowlKaty Perry Super Bowl


— and thought, “That is exactly the fragrance I’ve been looking for.”

If only Coldplay had consulted Kreskin ahead of time and planned a fragrance rollout.

So what have we learned?

No matter who wins on the field this year, the NFL walks away the big victor — almost two-thirds of a billion dollars richer.

Everyone is rooting for Peyton this year, except the entire population of New England — a fact that is surprising to no one.

And it is possible — however peculiar to contemplate — that the strongest reaction to the halftime show this year will be an inexplicable feeling that everyone should smell exactly like Chris Martin, but nobody will know what to buy to do just that.

And while that sounds unlikely, anyone who saw the epic helmet catch of 2008 or the great wardrobe malfunction of 2004 knows that stranger things have happened during the Super Bowl.




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