Minneapolis is gearing up for Super Bowl 52 on Sunday with the New England Patriots preparing to take on the Philadelphia Eagles.
Despite an expected decline in viewers for this year’s game, television executives estimate the event will pull in $500 million in ad revenue. CGTN’s Dan Williams reports.
The city of Minneapolis is preparing the stage for Super Bowl 52. Thousands of fans have flooded into the city and it’s already putting on a show.
But despite the glitz, the NFL faces a number of issues, including a nearly 10 percent decline in TV viewers during the regular season. If that slide continues into the Super Bowl, it could mark a turning point in U.S. attitudes to professional football.
“The trouble is what has been happening on the field as well as off the field. There is also some speculation that maybe there’s too much football. Viewership has been down, ad sales have been down. Yet the demand and the ad space within the NFL space are still pretty high. So while it is down and it hurts, there is still a lot of demand out there,” said Sara Gramata, Loyola University Quinlan School of Business.
The Super Bowl has long been more than just a game, attracting an audience that reaches far beyond football. The halftime show, which features performer Justin Timberlake this year, has morphed into its own event.
The price of a Super Bowl commercial is now above $5 million for 30 seconds. Even the television ads have become a pop culture occasion. But NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is among those who believe more needs to be done to connect with a younger audience.
“What do we do to make the game more attractive to the younger generation? A part of that is making the game available on the platforms you spend most of your time on. It would also be working on new opportunities to engage like e-sports. And we see that as a great opportunity to engage our fans on different platforms in different ways and frankly maybe all year round,” Goodell said.
The season has also played a role in the social movement against alleged police brutality, leading to many players taking a knee during thenational anthem in protest. Some, including U.S. President Donald Trump, criticized the action.
A key concern for the sport is the downturn in youth football participation levels over the last decade. That trend coincides during a period of greater scrutiny over the impact of concussions in the game and general player safety.
Despite that, many continue to believe those dangers are just part of the game.
“I don’t think you can ever take the danger away from the game. I don’t you want to because that is quite honestly what makes it so exciting. But we are seeing more things with our technology with our equipment getting better, the helmets changing, guys changing the way they are tackling. And there are so many things that this game has given me that far outweighs any risk we take on a Sunday,” said Malcolm Jenkins, Philadelphia Eagles safety.
For football fans Super Bowl weekend, there is only one story in town. The NFL can celebrate record revenues, but afterwards, NFL bosses appear to have an extensive array of issues to address.
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