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2020 Super Bowl Observations

Jan 31, 2020

The Super Bowl is unlike any of the other championship contests of the major U.S. sports. It is the only sport of the major American sports (football, hockey, basketball, and baseball) that is decided with one neutral-site game as opposed to a best-of series. As such, one lucky city becomes the epicenter of the sports universe for a couple of weeks -- and all that accompanies that status. The financial impact that the Super Bowl has on a local economy cannot be understated, from transportation to restaurants to lodging to merchandise. For example, more than 11,000 guests have booked a room in the Miami area with Airbnb.

The Super Bowl is generally the most wagered-upon sporting contest in any given year, largely due to the volume of the audience. According to the American Gaming Association, a record 26 million Americans will legally wager on Super Bowl LIV to the tune of $6.8 billion. In addition to betting on the game’s outcome, viewers often enjoy betting on different propositions (aka ‘prop bets’). How long will the national anthem last? What color will the Gatorade be that gets poured on the winning coach? What songs will halftime performers Jennifer Lopez and Shakira sing? As betting platforms continue to be legalized across the country, now in 20 states, it will be interesting to see the volume of betting transactions between the game itself and the different prop bets.

And oh those commercials. In fact, a lot of non-Super Bowl fans tune in just for those. What will be the chatter around the water cooler on Monday? Will we see other groundbreaking ads such as the “1984” created by Apple, or will it be a ho-hum year for advertisers. The stakes are getting ever higher. This year’s ads are going for upwards of $5.6 million for a 30-second spot.

Finally, in the wake of the events of Sunday January 26 and the passing of retired NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, his 13-year old daughter and seven others in a tragic helicopter accident, we can’t help but wonder how this may impact the atmosphere at this year’s game. The untimely loss of an internationally famous American athlete and icon drew the world to a standstill; and the indelible mark Kobe left around the globe has been a major subject of media conversations over the past week. Countless reporters, colleagues, friends and fans – including other professional athletes in nearly every major sport -- remember Kobe the athlete, the father, and the businessman. We will tune in on Super Bowl Sunday to witness what Kobe and his peers would surely appreciate – human beings dedicated to being the best at their craft.

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Brett Vinokur

Brett Vinokur is an Audit Senior Manager with years of audit and accounting experience serving both public and private entities with a focus on sports and entertainment, manufacturing and distribution, and financial services.

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