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zensky's avatar

Why is the Super Bowl the most watched sporting event of the year?

Asked by zensky (13372points) October 31st, 2011

Football is arguably an elitist, awkward, difficult sport to master and frankly even to follow. Compared to soccer (or football to the rest of the world that isn’t the USA) it’s like comparing chess to checkers. There are so many positions which change for defence and offence, yardage is used (only the US still uses yards) and the equipment is expensive. There are all kinds of strange rules and signage for them – it’s practically got its own language.

Compared to games where you just pass the ball and put it in the basket or net, it’s like quantum physics to grade 5 math.

It is hardly played or even televised anywhere other than the US.

One would think that baseball, or even basketball’s final games (final four or world series) would be more popular, right?

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23 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Many reasons.
First there is advertising and marketing.
Second, a pack of huge sweaty men brawling and ramming each other like boulders is more exciting than some blokes hitting a small ball with a stick.
Third, only 20 percent of the NBA are white.

zensky's avatar

What are you on?

marinelife's avatar

Football as opposed to soccer is America’s most popular sport. That’s why the Superbowl is the biggest draw.

In recent years, the games have even been pretty good.

Cruiser's avatar

The ads are a hugely popular viewing tradition.

erichw1504's avatar

Americans like watching grown men play with balls.

MacBatman31's avatar

I don’t see why, it’s a slow-paced sport made for the men who are too afraid to play a real sport. Rugby is by far the better sport. I personally think that it is the most watched sport because it gives fat, out of shape men a dream to play as a pro lineman, as well as reliving their dreams from their “glory days”. But the reason it is the most watched event is because of the beer commercials. They are awesome. Other than that, the games are boring.

JLeslie's avatar

Americans grow up with American football, so it makes sense they watch the superbowl. Probably a lot of Americans like that it is very “American.” The money in the industry feeds on itself. Colleges give big scholarships amd pro football pays well, so American kids play football not just because they love it, but because they might be tracking free schooling and a career. Plus, I think football coincides with people being stuck inside with cold weather, while soccer season runs through summer when people are travelling? Or, do I have that confused? Is soccer just as popular in cold countries as it is in warm ones?

TheIntern55's avatar

Football is taking over baseball as the most popular sport. While alot of people still love baseball and have a favorite team, football fans are MUCH more intense. Also, while baseball airs on weekdays when people are watching other more popular programs, football and the Superbowl air on Sundays. The Superbowl is also usually at a time when not many other sports are active. The ads usually are a huge draw too.
Or maybe we just like to have a reason to party and get drunk.

john65pennington's avatar

The Super Bowl is the most built-up sport on the planet. At the beginning of football season, the sponsor begins preparing their awarding-winning commericals for that special day. This is all about money. Once the season begins, you will notice that more and more commercials are building and advertising for the Super Bowl. It’s like blowing up a balloon, until it pops.

There is a lot of money in football and the Super Bowl.

zensky's avatar

@JLeslie Globally, Football (Amer.) is the ninth most popular sport.

Most Frequently Cited Ranked Lists
1) Football (soccer): 3.3–3.5 billion fans (Europe, Africa, Asia, Americas, etc.)
2) Cricket: 2–3 billion fans (India, UK, Pakistan, Asia, Australia, etc.)
3) Field hockey: 2–2.2 billion fans (Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia)
4) Tennis: Around 1 billion fans (Europe, Americas, Asia)
5) Volleyball: Around 900 million fans (Asia, Europe, Americas, Australia)
6) Table tennis: Around 900 million fans (Asia, Europe, Africa, Americas)
7) Baseball: Around 500 million fans (US, Japan, Cuba, Dominican Republic)
8) Golf: Around 400 million fans (US, Canada, Europe)
9) Gridiron (American football): 390–410 million fans (US mainly)
10) Basketball: Not more than 400 million fans (US, Canada mainly)

Read more:

JLeslie's avatar

@zensky Yes, I know soccer is much more popular around the world; I am married to a Mexican afterall, watch the world cup; but what I wondered is if the cold countries, Sweden, Denmark, etc, are just as into it as Spain and Colombia? Even Argentina which is in the southern hemisphere so has a different climate during the soccer season?

zensky's avatar

@JLeslie Soccer is the number one sport in Sweden, too.


janbb's avatar

It’s the food, stupid.

JLeslie's avatar

@zensky Ok, then I am back to media coverage, money, and tradition in the US.

JLeslie's avatar

By the way my Mexican husband played American football in school. In Mexico and in America. Not sure why he gravitated towards it. His dad loves watching soccer.

Hibernate's avatar

@zensky that top you mentioned applies only in some countries and not for all of the residents there.
For instance I don’t live in Japan but I love sumo and I watch all 6 major events every year.
I don’t live in New Zealand, South Africa or Australia yet I watch the south rugby matches [ 3 nations ].

Football for Americans is the best sport so they watch it. The Super Bowl will always be over estimated as an event .. take for instance all those money you pay to have a spot in the break.

wundayatta's avatar

Are you asking why is the Superbowl the most watched event in the US, or where? Obviously it’s the most watched event in the US because football is, by far, the favorite sport in the US.

I guess it’s fairly complicated for people around the world to understand, but if you play it, you know the rules, and it makes sense. It is probably one of the most graceful and athletic sports there is. It is also probably one of the most vicious and brute force sports there is. It’s got a bit of everything. It has glamour and it has blood and guts. It has balletic moves and it has brute force moves.

I don’t know if the Superbowl is the most watched event in international sports. I kind of doubt it. Surely the World Cup is the most watched sports show. But if the Superbowl is the most watched, then it is the influence of American culture and marketing that gives it such international reach. People watch one game a year—the Superbowl. It’s got to be marketing because it usually isn’t even a good game.

YARNLADY's avatar

It’s called Hype.

ucme's avatar

No, you got me there. Not the slightest clue.

filmfann's avatar

It is the commercials, that are usually the best you’ll see all year.
It is the hype of the two best teams (rarely are they the best).
It is an all day party.
It is an excuse to throw the ball with your friends.

Aethelwine's avatar

I love the sport. That’s why I watch, and I’m sure why many others do.

It’s not slow like baseball, and fast paced like basketball. It’s the perfect pace for enjoyment.

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JLeslie's avatar

Had to come back to this thread. Today I found out that my husband always payed American football, even when he was growing uo in MX. I asked him why he favored it over slccer, and his reply was, “because I like helmets.” Not sure if that is funny to you, but if you knew him it would get at least a smile. He does love his helmets. He doesn’t play football anymore, but her races his car in club racing, and he is one of the few that gets his helmet painted with a design.

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