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How Big is the Super Bowl?

So exactly how big is the Super Bowl? From this side of the Pacific Ocean it can be a little hard to tell. I mean us Aussies have ‘big’ – the AFL Grand Final, the NRL Grand Final and the Melbourne Cup all draw massive audiences and have a lot of money circling around them, but how do they really compare the Super Bowl? As we head into Super Bowl 50, let’s take a look at some of the numbers surrounding this game.

114.4 Million

This is the average amount of people in the U.S. who watched Superbowl XLIX in 2015 between Seattle and New England. And this figure peaked at 120.8 million as the Patriots headed into their final drive. This was a U.S. television ratings record and in Seattle 89% of all turned on televisions were watching the game. Compare this to the 2015 NRL Grand Final and 2013 AFL Grand Final which both had record ratings of 3.6 million.

280 Thousand

This is the amount of Aussies who watched the Super Bowl last year which was up 70 thousand from the previous year. This is not a bad effort given our 2015 population is less than one tenth that of the U.S.’s and that game is shown here on a Monday morning.

600 Million

This is how much it is claimed the Super Bowl is worth to the host city. This includes things like the amount people travelling to the city spend on food and accommodation and the additional employment it creates – this is why cities spend millions on new stadiums in order to host the event. But this figure is debated with some claiming that actual effect is as low as zero because the income it generates isn’t spent locally or it displaces money that would have been spent anyway. For a city like New Orleans, this could be a valid argument as hosting the Super Bowl means less Mardi Gras income, which is already the city’s busiest time of the year.


This is both the amount of Australians who have hit the field in a Superbowl AND the amount of Australian’s who have earned a Superbowl ring – but confusingly, they’re not the same person. Firstly there’s Ben Graham who in 2009 lined up as a punter for the Cardinals against the Steelers, but unfortunately the Cardinals lost 27-23. And then there’s Jessie Williams who was unable to take the field during Seattle’s successful 2013 season, but earned a ring for being part of the squad.

4.5 Million

This was the cost of a 30 second ad during the 2015 Super Bowl and it is expected that they’ll be costing $5 million this year. That means that if you’re purchasing ad time this year, you’ll be spending nearly $167 thousand per second. If you’re a company spending that sort of money then you want to make sure your ad will make an impact, and as a consequence there have been some brilliant ads throughout the years.

28.4 Million

This is the amount of Tweets that went out during last year’s game from across the world. This included people talking about Russell Wilson’s intercepted pass (395,000 tweets per minute), the Patriots winning (379,000 tweets per minute), and Katy Perry’s half-time performance (284,000 tweets per minute). People were also discussing the game on Facebook with 1.36 million people commenting on the Patriots win every minute.


That’s how much it’s reported Katy Perry got paid for performing at last year’s Half-Time Show. While the league covers the productions cost, the artists who are performing receive no compensation for their time and effort. In fact, the NFL has more recently been attempting to coerce artists to give away future touring or royalty income for the privilege of playing citing the publicity that it generates is beneficial for the artist.

97 Thousand

This is the bonus each player from the Patriots earned for winning last year’s Super Bowl. And don’t fret – the Seahawks’ players still received a cool $47 thousand each for being runners up. Add to this the $44 thousand each player received from winning their Conference Championship and the $24 thousand they received for winning the Divisional playoff round.

3.9 Billion

This is amount that was wagered on last year’s game. The bulk of this gambling is done through illegal channels with only $100 million of those bets made legally. This has led some to speculate that betting on the game generates more income than the game itself and it also raises questions about the point of commercial gambling bans in 35 American states. This is particularly relevant now that internet gambling is so prominent and accessible.


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Cameron Stewart

I'm a cricket tragic, an AFL fan, and a reasonably recent NFL convert. I'm studying a BA in Internet Communications and I also do music stuff. Twitter: @stuartprend

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