As the clock ticks inexorably towards Super Bowl XLVIII, it is once again time to analyze the world’s greatest and most watched “one day” event in the world. This year’s match- up features the Seattle Seahawks who have put together an outstanding season under Head Coach Pete Carroll versus the Denver Broncos featuring one of the most iconic figures in professional football history, Peyton Manning. Both teams are 13-3.
What makes this Super Bowl a bit strange is that it is going to be hosted by New Jersey and played in an outdoor stadium. Since the date of the game is February 2nd, the possibility of another “Freeze Bowl” is possible and perhaps even likely.
The pre-game hype has already started and the post-game rant by Richard Smith of the Seahawks with ESPN sportscaster Erin Andrews as the focus of social media and various pundits on the air. Will that translate into fan interest and expected television viewership?
Television ratings for the Super Bowl have been consistently high no matter the participating teams. This game will be interesting in that it features two “western” teams unlike last year’s match of San Francisco versus the Super Bowl Champions, the Baltimore Ravens.
The highest rated television broadcast of all time featured the San Francisco 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals in 1982. Ratings topped 49 with a market share of 73. The NFL prefers to have the Super Bowl contenders from major television markets insuring high ratings and happy advertisers. The 2014 Super Bowl features two “western” teams so FOX Sports is hoping that the matchup will produce not only an exciting game but television ratings that exceed last year’s 46 rating with a 68 share.
One fact that would seem to indicate plenty of pre-game publicity, which hopefully translates to high ratings, is that the game will be played in East Rutherford, New Jersey about ten miles from Manhattan, the media capital of the United States. While there has been some controversy over the selection of the northeast stadium (especially with a major snow storm this week) organizers and the NFL are confident the game will be sold out as usual and produce expected television ratings. The stadium seats over 82,000 and is expected to be sold out in spite of the extremely cold weather.
Over the years NFL Championship games or Super Bowls have hosted 11 games in the New York area dating to 1934. The most recent game was played in 2001. It appears that while there is fan interest in a Seahawks-Broncos matchup, the real question seems to be what will the weather be like and how will it impact the game. Both teams have played in difficult outdoor conditions so stay tuned to the weather report and then enjoy the game. Most of us will watch it from the comfort of our living room but the NFL and Fox Sports will be there hoping that there are lots of us watching from home.