Ah, Super Bowl Sunday. A time to get together with your good friends, eat some good food, wash it all down with some good beer (Bud Light, Garth’s favorite, is preferable), as we all watch some great football. It’s easy to get wrapped up in Super Bowl festivities. But in all seriousness, the Super Bowl is much more than just a huge party. Like many sporting events, it’s a highly anticipated, revenue-churning spectacle, bringing consumers to host-cities, where they spend, spend, and spend some more. And let us not fail to mention those famous Super Bowl Sunday ads, for which companies pay a pretty penny to advertise to the most monstrous of TV audiences. So as the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Disney World to celebrate, Garth and I reflect.

Apparently, the biggest sports event on the American calendar is not recession proof. Tampa generated an estimated $150 million this year, about $45 million less than the previous two years in Glendale, AZ last year, and Miami the year before. Analysts attribute the revenue decrease to both businesses and people tightening their purse strings. There simply are not as many people in Tampa as there have been in the host city in years past. For those that did make the trip, they are not staying as long and not spending as much. If you had money to burn, would you travel to Tampa to celebrate, in turn pumping money into the local economy?

For those who chose to visit, maybe you were lucky enough to attend P Diddy’s annual Super Bowl party. With the exception of his party, sponsorship and entertainment that usually surround the event in the week leading up to the big game have decreased. Even the players are spending and partying less. At the end of his first evening in host-city Tampa , typically a curfew-free night of celebrations for the players, Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby said, “No parties. We ain’t got time for all that.” Neither Cardinal nor Steeler could’ve been found at the Sports Illustrated or Playboy parties. Both were canceled.

Don’t feel bad for Tampa though, they are still reeling off the revenue brought in a couple months ago from the World Series run put on by their unlikely Rays. Two major sporting events have left the city sitting pretty, revenue-wise, in a tough market.

While the economic impact for Tampa has not been what they may have hoped, the networks are still bringing in huge ad dollars. The purported $3 million for 30 second commercial is the largest ad payday to date. And isn’t that what half of the Super Bowl viewers tune in for anyway? In the days to come, the circus that is the Super Bowl will leave town. However, the commercials will remain, replaying into the annals of commercial lore and reminding us why we love to tune in for a game that most likely doesn’t host our favorite teams (Garth is a long time Jets fan, and hasn’t seen the promised land in his lifetime).

Hopefully the Jets will get their chance in 2010, my dear friend. In the meantime, let us laugh at those commercials, let’s hope Tampa has enjoyed itself, and we wish everybody a fantastic post-Super Bowl Monday. Thanks to the Steelers and Cardinals for a great game. Larry Fitzgerald, I wish it could’ve gone to you.

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