The media spectacle known as “Super Bowl 50” is besieging our television screens even though kick-off is still days away. Tuning in to any CBS show this week offers a continuous reminder of the upcoming gridiron event.
This season-ending pinnacle of professional football apparently has consumed too many steroids when compared to a humble 1967 Super Bowl I.
A 30-second CBS advertisement during Sunday’s telecast has reached a record-breaking $5 million. The per-second breakdown of this astronomical price tag is beyond comprehension. As of Jan. 26, airtime availability remained for any last-minute takers who have more money than advertising sensibility.
Despite the unfathomable commercial airtime cost, this “Golden Anniversary” Super Bowl is being touted as “the most giving Super Bowl ever.” The Super Bowl Host Committee has raised $40 million from San Francisco Bay technology giants Apple, Google, Yahoo, Intel and other corporations to fund grants for 50 area charities specific to “youth development, community investment and sustainable environments.”
Compared to the $12 ticket price for Super Bowl I in 1967, the Super Bowl 50 ticket now orbits within the same overpriced stratosphere as the 30-second ad rates. The average ticket price is $4,861.95 for the Sunday match-up between the upstart Carolina Panthers and the more seasoned Denver Broncos. A “club-level” seat can be yours, ranging from $16,500 to $5,200. A more “economical” option might be the “400 level” view within host venue Levi’s Stadium at just $2,950, per StubHub.com.
Considering Super Bowl XLIX of 2015 still holds the title for the most expensive ticket, with an average cost of $9,000 each, Super Bowl 50 — at about half that price — might be considered a steal.
One millions fans are expected descend upon the San Francisco area to partake in the marathon of week-long events before the game. The clean-up for this siege of visitors will cost the city an additional $5 million. Jane Kim, the city services director, had lobbied the National Football League to subsidize the cost. Her request was denied.
Determining which of these overpaid professional football teams deserves my allegiance is still being pondered. Unquestionably, the Carolina Panthers offer the most former Buckeyes.
Theodore Steven Avery Ginn Jr. — “Ted” for short — is a Cleveland native and former Ohio State star, and now wears No. 19 as a Panthers wide receiver. His Buckeye teammates include fellow wide receiver Philly Brown, safety Kurt Coleman and Cincinnati native Andrew Norwell, a monster-sized Carolina guard, weighing 325 pounds and towering at 6-foot-6.
The Denver Bronco roster lists only two former Buckeyes — Bradley Roby at free safety and rookie Jeff Heuerman at tight end. One other Bronco with an Ohio origin is Derek Wolfe from the University of Cincinnati.
Despite the overwhelming number of “Buckeye Panthers,” my vote still goes to Nationwide Insurance and Papa John’s pitchman Peyton Manning, the Broncos’ quarterback. He will be hitting the milestone age of 40 seven weeks after Super Bowl 50. His rumored retirement follows overcoming several near career-ending injuries and subsequent surgeries. His persona is both humble and likeable.
Despite his “awe-shucks” appearances, Manning is an astute business tycoon and one of the world’s highest-paid athletes. Forbes reports his net worth at $115 million, with an annual salary of $20 million playing football, and another $8 million added yearly in endorsements.
In comparison, the salary of Carolina’s star quarterback, Cam Newton, is paltry — at $5.5 million, part of a $20 million five-year contract versus Manning’s one-year $20 million deal.
However, Manning does not exit the team’s chartered jet wearing $800 scene-stealing wildly patterned Versace trousers nor has a young son with the much-to-live-up-to moniker of “Chosen.”
Professional football is now an egocentric, astronomically overpaid entity that has a minimal resemblance to Super Bowl I and those $12 tickets. How sad for the fans as this evolution continues into something that is now an overpriced media spectacle versus a true sporting event.