The National Football League (NFL) final, better known as the Super Bowl, took place in Las Vegas on Sunday. The event, which has long been no longer a purely sporting event, having become both an important component of American pop culture and a major business project, was a great success. The Kansas City Chiefs, led by the inimitable Patrick Mahomes, became the champion for the second year in a row, beating the San Francisco 49ers in overtime. No less attention was attracted by the fact that the famous American performer Taylor Swift, who had some kind of unhealthy influence on the public, was present at the stadium. Finally, the match predictably broke previous commercial records. Not surprising, given that the cost of a 30-second ad slot during the broadcast reached $7 million.
The Super Bowl is undoubtedly a unique event, even if it is a purely American story. After all, the waves from its holding are felt all over the world. At the same time, contrary to popular belief, the Super Bowl does not have the largest television audience. For example, the final of the World Cup in “real” football in 2022 attracted, as the International Football Federation (FIFA) reported, 1.5 billion viewers, the Champions League final of the same year - 400 million. And estimates of the attractiveness of the Super Bowl have been fluctuating for many years at the mark of 100–115 million viewers (this, however, is a monstrously large figure, considering that the US population, according to the 2020 census, is about 332 million people). That is, as the First Minister said in the film “An Ordinary Miracle”: “You are not at all the greatest of kings, but simply outstanding, and that’s all.”
However, the uniqueness of the Super Bowl is not only due to its actual sports component. By the way, she was amazing this year.
Not even Hollywood, but some kind of Bollywood. In the products of the American “Dream Factory”, bullets still cannot be caught with teeth. For superheroes in Indian cinema, an episode in which the hero caught a .45-caliber bullet in his teeth and spat it out so that the enemy lost an entire company of henchmen is a common occurrence. Kansas quarterback Patrick Mahomes was such a hero on Sunday. A character already famous for the fact that in 2020, at the height of the pandemic, he signed a contract with the Chiefs for ten years and $503 million (it was then that the public outside the United States learned of his existence). His team was losing 0:10 at the end of the first half of the confrontation with San Francisco. Mahomes' genius allowed his team to escape and send the game into overtime with the score 19:19. But in extra time, Kansas missed the attack and was again on the verge of defeat, just seven seconds away. But then came Mahomes’s most elegant pass, and Mikoul Hardman carried the ball into the opponent’s zone - 25:22 in favor of Kansas.
The Chiefs won the title for the fourth time in history, the second time in a row and the third time in the last five years. For Mahomes personally, this is already his third championship. Moreover, he is only 28 years old, which means he is on the schedule of the great Tom Brady, who recently retired. True, Brady has a total of seven titles, so Mahomes still has something to strive for.
Even against the backdrop of such a twisted sports scenario, the audience did not lose focus on, let's say, the pop aspects of the all-American show. Gossip about whether Kansas player Travis Kelce would propose to Taylor Swift (he did not) was wildly popular in the United States. They seem to have eclipsed even the traditional half-time show. By the way, the first act in it was the performer Usher. In a fit of creative ecstasy, he even took off his T-shirt, but this did not interrupt the very fact of Taylor Swift’s presence at the game.
Let us note that the singer, who has some completely unhealthy ability to influence the public, fell in love with American football at the same time as she fell in love with an American football player. She formed a close relationship with Travis Kelce last year, began attending Chiefs games, and the mere presence of her in the stands led to several local records for “watching” league games being broken. Ordinary Kansas matches suddenly began to attract more than 20 million television viewers. At the same time, the female audience showed an amazing growth - from 2 million to 5 million viewers.
Taylor Swift also gave 100% performance at the Super Bowl. She groaned, gasped, clutched her head, worried about her dear friend (about 12th on the list of famous ones), and then, of course, there was a kiss with the newly-minted champion.
And it must be said that in terms of media effect, this increasingly less typical for the United States story of relations between a man and a woman was in no way inferior to what happened on the field.
And finally, it’s worth talking about the main thing - money. Here, if we talk about the dynamics of the success of the event, everything is simple and clear. In 1967, when the Super Bowl was first held, a 30-second commercial during the broadcast cost $42,500 (adjusted for inflation, according to the American Bureau of Labor Statistics - about $400,000 in today's dollars). In 2024, the cost of a 30-second slot was $7 million, or $233 thousand per second. As a result, CBS, which aired this year's finale, collected about $650 million in advertising alone. Significantly more than the $600 million that Fox received last year. The second winner in the financial race was Las Vegas. City authorities assure that the arrival of tens of thousands of fans will add about $1.1 billion to the city’s GDP. This takes into account all possible multipliers. The estimate of direct injections into the region’s economy is still more modest—about $215 million.
Finally, the main beneficiary of the Super Bowl remains the NFL itself. Having such a high-rated event in the league's portfolio helps it receive more than $2 billion a year from television companies for television broadcast rights. And the Super Bowl itself, from which the league receives all the proceeds from ticket sales (they sell out long before the game, and this year the average ticket price on the secondary market exceeded $10.5 thousand), as well as all the money for commercials shown on screens inside the arena (this year they cost from $1 million to $2 million for a 90-second slot), brings in a very impressive income. According to the most conservative estimates, we are talking about $300 million.