Super Bowl Sunday Sin City Style

For those of you who would prefer to listen:

It’s that time of year. Americans from coast-to-coast will be glued to televisions. Food and beverage consumption will skyrocket. It’s Super Bowl Sunday.

Over the last 57 years, audiences and Dollars spent have increased in size for this special Sunday. This one, Super Bowl 58, is going to be a Super Bowl like no other. First of all, it’s in Las Vegas. This is the NFL’s maiden voyage for its championship game in Sin City. It has a marquee matchup with the Niners and the Chiefs. CBS and the NFL are ecstatic about this pairing. And of course, there’s that Taylor Swift factor. You simply can’t talk about this year’s Super Bowl without mentioning Time’s Person of the Year. For some people, she’s bigger than the game itself. I’m not one of them. But I sure get it.

The mega-star has already generated an equivalent brand value of over $330 Million for the Chiefs and the NFL as a whole. That, according to Apex Marketing Group research. Then there’s this: More women watched NFL games this season than ever before. Well, at least since it has been tracked back in 2000. There’s already a Swift-o-meter that’s tracking her anticipated trip from Tokyo to Vegas. It’s kind of ridiculous. But people are really into it. Taylor Swift has a concert in Japan the night before, but a chartered plane and the time change makes a Swift attendance seemingly probable. There’s also reportedly a wager in Vegas predicting how many times CBS shows her on camera. I repeat, this is going to be a Super Bowl like no other. 

The Super Bowl is huge. It is by far the most-watched event in America. This one is expected to be the biggest yet. The standard Super Bowl viewership has been over 100 Million people, across the country. That’s about one-third the population. Now you throw in some new “Swifties” who never watched the game before, previously opting for empty shopping malls or maybe a Sunday flick on Lifetime. Taylor Swift is expected to increase viewership this Sunday by over 10%, according to Morgan Stanley. Would you believe there are shirts now that say “Go Taylor’s Boyfriend”?? It became the number one seller on Amazon this week. OK, enough about her. Back to the game.

Ticket prices this year averaged over $8K heading to the weekend. That’s a Super Bowl record. Would you believe the first Super Bowl didn’t even sell out? The average ticket price was $12 at the LA Coliseum to see the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs. It wasn’t even called the Super Bowl until year 3. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority estimate the total economic impact to be around $500 Million. That would translate to approximately $70 Million in state and local taxes. It’s not just about the game. Las Vegas is anticipating an additional 150,000 visitors coming for the overall experience. Those people are expected to spend $215 Million on food, drinks, hotels and game-related items, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

6 years ago, sports betting was illegal outside Nevada. For years, the NFL actually fought against the legalization. No longer. Now the league has embraced it with open arms and is raking in the money. And of course, Las Vegas is hosting its first-ever Super Bowl. How things have changed. A reported 68 Million Americans are expected to wager as much as $23 Billion on Sunday’s game. Notably, this year’s Super Bowl will mark the first time that legal Super Bowl bets will be made in Florida, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Maine, Vermont, and Nebraska.

Super Bowl weekend has always been big in Vegas. But having the game there has seen an explosion of demand and activity. Hotel room rates soared once the Chiefs and Niners nailed down their spots in the Super Bowl. It looks like high-end consumers are not holding back on spending. Hotel rooms are twice as expensive this year as the last couple of years and Monday and Tuesday, early in the week, has never seen the level of parties and activities leading up to Super Bowl weekend.

Hotels that weren’t able to capitalize on the early rush have suffered. The average nightly rate was over $440 the night the Niners and Chiefs advanced to the Super Bowl. They were $403 as recently as a week ago. On Thursday, they fell to $288. The big draw hotels, like the Encore Las Vegas and the Wynn have held firm to the original pricing they listed of $2,500 a night. They’ve been filling rooms at that rate. Most on the strip have long been sold out at an average rate of $580 per night. The higher end resorts along the strip average $1,312 a night. That is lower than the $1,889 in the Phoenix area last year, but Vegas has far more rooms. More supply to meet demand. These are still really big numbers.

Vegas is trying to shake the Sin City image. Well, sort of. The thing is, Las Vegas is far more than gambling today. Over the years, the city has become an entertainment destination. It has world class resorts, restaurants and golf courses. Las Vegas has long been known for its concert residencies. It started with Liberace in the 1940s. Sinatra and Elvis took it to a new level. It got revitalized in the 21st century by Elton John and Celine Dion, who both called it home for years. Today the likes of Adele, Drake, U2, and Garth Brooks are setting up along the strip. The Sphere has become a magnet for artists, called a “canvas with unparalleled scale.” Non-gaming revenue accounts for 70% of the Las Vegas total. In fact, hospitality revenue, which includes hotel, restaurant and activities has increased by 135% since pre-Covid. Las Vegas accounted for 90% of Nevada’s revenue growth last year. Viva Las Vegas.

The vast majority of we Americans will be watching the Super Bowl on TV. Advertisers covet the large audience. CBS already cleared the advertising record revenue of $600 Million for the game set last year. Commercials for Sunday’s game sold out back in November. That was well before anyone knew the matchup. It speaks to the NFL’s massive popularity. The cost for a 30-second ad was over $7 Million. That’s a 75% increase from a decade ago. For perspective, that could translate to around a nickel per viewer. Another uniqueness for Sunday’s game: You can watch it 3 different ways. The most common will of course be on the traditional CBS broadcast network. But streamers are definitely on the rise, with over 21 Million watching it that route last year. Paramount+ is the streaming network this year.

In an effort to hook the kids, CBS will also be broadcasting the game on its Nickelodeon cable network. Sponge Bob will be doing play-by-play with slime-based augmented-reality effects. There won’t be beer or gambling commercials on the Nick broadcasts. Heading into the weekend, there were reportedly some commercial spots still available for $300K per 30-second slot. It will be interesting to see how successful this kids-oriented broadcast is. Media companies are always focused on hooking the next generation. NBC streamed the first-ever NFL playoff game to a record audience. Importantly, the company said the streamed game lowered the average viewer age by 10 years. Amazon is reportedly getting a playoff game next year. It’s super competitive to consistently capture attention and eyeballs. The NFL is the biggest of TV business and CBS is preparing for the largest Super Bowl Sunday in history.

Remember inflation? Prices have been moving. Fortunately, it’s not just up still. There’s some relief for that Super Bowl spread. The price for hamburger meat across the country is up 12% since last year. But chicken wing prices are down. The average cost of fresh wings declined 5%. Frozen is down 11%. It’s a good time to get chicken. Shrimp cocktail might be a favorite this weekend. The price of shrimp came down 6%. Of course there will be guac. Avocados are the same price as last year. But the chips will get you. Chip prices are up 5%. Salsa is up 3%. Blame the packaging. This might be the only time it’s good news that beer is flat. A beer will cost you the same this weekend as it did a year ago. But soft drinks are more expensive. Cans of soda are up 5% in a year and a whopping 55% since 2019. The high cost of aluminum is a big reason for that.

16 Million Americans are expected to watch the Super Bowl at a bar or restaurant this weekend. Total spending on food, drinks and apparel is slated to clear $17 Billion. That translates to roughly $86 per person. So lock in. The Super Bowl is big business for pretty much everyone. And some people watch exclusively for the commercials…

There’s also this: The result of the game has had a lasting impact on the Stock Market. It’s called the “Super Bowl Indicator.” You no doubt recall we’ve covered this many times before. The Super Bowl Indicator is a nonscientific barometer suggesting that the outcome of the Super Bowl can predict the Stock Market’s direction for the rest of the year. The theory goes that a victory by an original NFL team, which is now largely represented by the NFC, results in a positive year on Wall Street. The converse, a victory by an AFC team representing the original AFL, leads to a Market decline.

New York Times sportswriter Leonard Koppett first introduced the Super Bowl Indicator in 1978. Up until that point, it had never been wrong. It was 12 for 12 – 100%. The perfect streak of course was inevitably broken, but the accuracy rate remained high. Up until the Dot-com bubble bursting in 2000, it still had a 90% accuracy. It hasn’t been as accurate since. Over the past twenty Super Bowls (from 2004 through 2023), it has only been correct 6 times. That’s just 30%. Kansas City’s victory over Philadelphia last year reflected this. But overall, the Super Bowl Indicator has been correct 41 out of 57 times. That’s an accuracy of 72%. It’s still pretty darn good. So, the Bulls are definitely in the 49er camp this weekend. As if you needed any more reasons to root for the Niners.

Have a nice weekend. We’ll be back, dark and early on Monday.

Go Niners!

Mike

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