Goshen News, Goshen, IN

February 1, 2014

NOT THAT YOU ASKED, BUT ...: Big Game, big bucks — so goooo, Broncos? Maybe

Goshen News

---- — A trip to the grocery store this week showed lots of empty spaces in the chips aisle. Hmm, could that be because of the crazy weather and bad roads we’ve had or was it because the Big Game is Sunday?

The Big Game — the Super Bowl — has become more of an event than a sporting competition. Sure, two teams will play and one will win the championship, but the percentage of Americans who care about the outcome vs. the number who are more concerned about the party is probably leaning 60-40 in favor of the party. (And that’s a conservative guess.)

When did it become so big and such an event? Is it because it’s held in the dead of winter when we’re looking for any excuse to socialize? I mean, we don’t hear about World Series parties or NBA hoop-las.

Or is it because of the Super Bowl ads that have become so iconic that they give non-football fans a reason to want to watch — even if it is just to know what your co-workers are talking about around the water cooler. (OK, tweeting about in twitterdom, these days.)

I am guilty of being in that 60 percent. I count myself as being in that percentage that cares more about the event than the sheer sportsmanship. I like sports — raising two boys you kind of have to. Before my sons were born the only sport I cared about was baseball. Coming from New York that is THE sport. But with two sons I learned about and appreciated football, basketball, soccer, tennis and track.

My eldest son is a true sports fan. I used to tell people I could always tell which kid was home last when I turned on the TV because when it was my eldest, the channel was always on ESPN. So when he lived at home there were more football, basketball and baseball being watched.

Now I watch the big games — the Sweet 16 playoffs, the World Series and the Super Bowl. I couldn’t tell you who was in the running for any of these events, but once the big game came I was prepared to watch and I chose a team to support and morphed into No. 1 fan.

I will have chips and dip and football shaped goodies on hand, whether it’s just lil ol’ me watching or I have company. I will know what the best commercials are (and sometimes they are the best part for me, I’m afraid), so I can talk about them the next day. And If I don’t have a preference over which team wins, I usually root for the underdog.

I heard some statistics the other day that proved how big the Big Game has gotten. Reportedly last year $12.3 billion was spent on the Super Bowl — $12.3 BILLION!

The average person spent $68.27, according to these statistics, and the younger crowd was the biggest spenders. The 18- to 24-year-olds spent on average $93 and those aged 25 to 34 spent an average of $100 each. Most of that money was spent on snacks, but some thought the Super Bowl was the time to get a new TV.

And of that $12.3 billion, $7.7 million was reportedly spent on team apparel. So the Big Game is also big business for the food and drink industry, clothing, electronics and home furnishing industries because you have to have a new recliner or sofa to go with that new TV, right?

And that doesn’t’ include the amount spent on ticket sales or the millions spent by the companies on those iconic ads.

For me, other than the championship games played in professional sports, I prefer amateur sports — Little League, high school football and college basketball. That’s when the cheerleader and sports fanatic in me really shines. It’s at those levels that the games are played for the love of the game and anything can happen and often does.

Who will I be cheering for? I haven’t quite decided yet.

The Broncos colors are the same as my high school colors, plus Peyton Manning plays for them. But since Colorado will soon be taking my son and grandson away I’m not very happy with that state right now. But why would I root for the Seahawks? It looks like they’re favored so darn it I may have to cheer for the Broncos, after all.

And yes, I do hear all of you true sports fans, including my son if he were to read this, groaning right now!

Denise Fedorow is a columnist and correspondent for The Goshen News. Her column appears every other week. She realizes that her choices of who to cheer for are not statistical or analytical — and she’s OK with that.