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Sunday, February 2, 2020

Super Bowl Economics: 12 Stats on Tickets Prices, Ad Revenue, and Money, Money, Money

The high costs and high profits reveal something: Americans immensely value either attending or watching the big game.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons-US Air Force | Public Domain (

In Miami on Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs will play in Super Bowl LIV before a crowd of some 65,000 fans.

The Super Bowl has become more than just a game, however. For decades, it has been the most-watched televised event in North America, routinely drawing audiences of more than 100 million viewers. Being at the Super Bowl is a sign of prestige, with attendees paying thousands of dollars for a single ticket. Companies pay millions to get a 30-second commercial before an audience. It’s the one event that celebrity performers line up to play—for free.

Below are some stats that show why the Super Bowl, which started as a $12 per ticket event and was blacked out on TV because it didn’t sell out, remains the biggest entertainment event in America.

  1. The average price of a Super Bowl ticket is currently $8,940, MSN reports.
  2. The average price for scalped tickets is $8,264.
  3. The big money, however, comes from broadcast rights. The NFL reportedly makes more than $5 billion per year selling broadcast rights for all its games, which includes the Super Bowl, the most-watched game of the year.
  4. The $336 million CBS hauled in last year in ads for the Super Bowl was more than what ABC received for all six games of the NBA finals in 2019 ($288 million combined) and more than what Fox received for the seven games of the World Series (191 million), according to Forbes.
  5. That was with a viewership of 98.2 million, according to Nielsen, the lowest number of total viewers in more than a decade.
  6. Stella Artois’ “Change Up the Usual” was the most-watched Super Bowl ad online in 2019. The ad accrued more than 48 million views by the Monday after the game on various online platforms. 

  7. A 30-second ad placement for Super Bowl LIV costs about $5.6 million, up from $5.25 million from last year.
  8. That’s about $187,000 per second.
  9. President Trump and presidential contender Michael Bloomberg will each spend $10 million on ads during the Super Bowl for a grand total of 60 seconds of airtime (each).
  10. Singers Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will headline the Pepsi Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show—and will receive no compensation. They will, however, likely see a huge boost in record sales.
  11. Consumers will spend a total of $17.2 billion on food, beverage, merchandise, and party supplies for the big game.
  12. That’s $88.65 per person, for a total of 193.8 million who plan on watching the game.

Why It Matters

The gargantuan profits made by the NFL, snack and beverage companies, and the price fans pay to attend might seem sickening. How can so much money be thrown around for pure entertainment? The high costs and high profits reveal something: Americans immensely value either attending or watching the big game. Someone who attends the game is willing to forgo spending $8,940 elsewhere because that’s how much they value the electric experience of attending a Super Bowl in person. Your Aunt Nance who shells out $88 on snacks and party materials values the gathering of family and friends more than she would value spending that $88 elsewhere.

It’s an age-old tale of subjective value. You can’t knock sports fans for what they value. The best you can do is set up a business to help them enjoy it even more.

  • Jonathan Miltimore is the Senior Creative Strategist of at the Foundation for Economic Education.