The power of Super Bowl

Over 100 million NFL fans will tune into watch the Super Bowl on Sunday February 6th.

The vast majority of them, on this island especially, will be converging on sports bars that are planning what is probably the most important date in the sporting calendar for them.

Although it’s a huge day for most Americans, it can leave people from other nations bewildered.

What is it that is so compelling about watching sports in the first place, and, if the match is so important, why is it attended by so many people who are clearly not watching the sport but tagging along for all the incidental entertainment?

Being a sports fan is all about the sense of belonging.

It gives disparate individuals something in common and supporters of a particular team will feel a sense of unity with one another even if they are miles apart and do not know each other.

From the earliest times, mankind has found ways to unite individuals under a common cause, be it tribal warfare, political affiliation or a club membership.

While women forge friendships through lengthy conversations and shared values, men bond over sports.

Sports fans place a great deal of importance on their chosen sport or team, but it also represents an escape from the daily grind, a bit of light relief compared to much of the grim news that is broadcast.

It is good, old-fashioned entertainment. And when one’s team wins, the fans share in the glory vicariously; it becomes ‘their’ victory, something for them to celebrate.

When it comes to the Super Bowl all of this is multiplied: it’s the biggest match of the year in the US, with the two best football teams in the US playing for supremacy.

But there is more to the appeal of this particular match than just the sporting factor.

Watching the match is now synonymous with a big party.

While people throw parties at home, millions more gather to watch it on big screens with sophisticated sound systems in sports bars.

Big screens and speakers certainly have something to do with it, but it’s really about the atmosphere.

If you can’t be at the stadium itself, then the next best thing is surely to be part of a crowd who have all gathered for the same reason.

The sense of community, the noise and the excitement that come from being part of a large group of people all cheering in unison creates a buzz you simply would not experience if you were to watch it quietly on your home TV.

“It makes the experience so much more gratifying to be in the midst of fan excitement and momentum,” says Ashleigh Lund of Lone Star Bar & Grill.

Super Bowl Sunday is famed as much for the excuse to party as it is for the sport these days.

What is virtually a de facto holiday, it is also the second largest day of food consumption after Thanksgiving in the US.

Chilli, burgers, hot dogs and food that does not require sitting down with a knife and fork is favoured.

At Lone Star Super Bowl Sunday offerings will include the Juicy Lucy Certified Angus Burger, (oozing warm melted cheese with every bite), a Super Bowl Sandwich and chicken wings.

Alcohol also plays a big part and most sports bars will be offering special deals on certain beers.

Food and drinks specials alone would not usually be enough to get non-football fans out to watch a match, but Super Bowl Sunday is not just about the football.

Its about the entertainment before, during and after the game.

Internationally acclaimed musicians entertain the crowds in the pre-game and half time slots.

This year will see Christina Aguilera opening with the national anthem and the Black Eyed Peas taking the stage in the half time show.

So popular is this aspect of the evening that in recent years viewership has actually increased during the half time show.

But it is the commercials that are really competing with the game at hand for the public’s attention.

Thirty second commercial slots are worth around $3 million this year and will be showcasing the creative genius of the best advertising minds in the world.

Ironically, this is the one day of the year when the public does not tune out during the commercial break.

The Super Bowl Sunday ads are so eagerly anticipated that previews and sneak peeks are released on the internet weeks in advance.

This year will see contributions from Audi, Hyundai, Pepsi, Pizza Hut and an appearance by Eminem in a Lipton Brisk Iced Tea advert.

Between the sport, the huge turnout, an excess of food and drinks, and great entertainment, Super Bowl Sunday has all the ingredients for a memorable party. Enjoy!