With the NFC and AFC Championship games over, we are now knee-deep in the build-up for America’s biggest unofficial holiday… the Super Bowl. Since the first Super Bowl back in 1967, the game has become America’s biggest and perhaps most costliest non-holiday. In New Orleans, the site of this years’ game, a 30-person luxury suite is going for over $315,000.00, tickets to the game are averaging over $3,100.00 per seat and hotel rooms close to the Super Bowl are booking at over $2,000.00 per night (pillow mints not included). Going to the big game is big business and even bigger bucks.
It’s easier this year to park the Bentley and tailgate. When you’ve just shelled out over $3,000 for a seat to the game, $75.00 to park the car seems downright cheap. At this years’ Super Bowl, tailgating fans actually got a bit of good news from the NFL. For the first time in several years, the NFL is allowing tailgating at the Super Bowl. Parking spots at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome where tailgating will be allowed, currently start at $75.00 for the game with a variety of options also available in private lots in relative close proximity to the stadium.
Watch the game at home; send a kid to college. If you don’t happen to have an inheritance or be the monarch of a small country, you can join the majority of Americans that will stay at home and watch the game on television. In a recent Nielsen survey, some interesting facts came out about how we watch the Super Bowl. The survey of over 60,000 U.S. households found that less than 1.5% of the respondents indicated that they would be watching the game at a bar or a restaurant. This survey also showed that 9 out of 10 households would pass on attending the game live to instead watch it in the comfort of their homes with friends and family. James Russo, Senior Vice President of Global Consumer Insight at Nielsen recently weighed-in on the survey’s findings. “The Super Bowl is in some ways an American holiday,” said Russo, “It’s gathering the friends and family around the at-home experience and all the other components that tie into that.”
The Colonel of “Couchgating.” Whether it be for social or economic reasons, American consumers are foregoing the time, expense and hassles of attending games live to burrow down at home often in sumptuous “Man Caves” and watch the game on jumbo flat screen televisions. The food marketing gurus at Yum Brands, Incorporated picked up on this trend and recently came out with a new ad campaign for KFC just in time for the NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl centered around “Couchgating.” As the “Official Sponsor of Couchgating,” KFC has its own dedicated Facebook page to teach fans how to become “Ultimate Couchgaters.” Since December 31st, the KFC Couchgating page already has over 528,000 fans and growing. Carrie Transue, Brand Manager for KFC Corporation recently commented on the Couchgating phenomenon. “We know a lot of customers and a lot of people in general are actually watching sports and gathering for other TV events at home,” said Transue, “Customers have taken to the campaign quickly and without a lot of explanation, which makes us think we’re dead-on.”
“Y” not do some Couchgating for a good cause? Some groups are also using the Couchgating trend as a creative way to raise money for charitable causes. In Sacramento, California, a Couchgating party for the NFC and AFC Championship games was recently auctioned off to benefit the Sacramento YMCA. In the end, over $1,300.00 was raised to fund a summer camp for disadvantaged kids. Kevin Smith-Fagan, the chairman of the Sacramento YMCA auction, is looking to do more Couchgating fundraisers. “This was a great event,” said Smith-Fagan, “Maybe next year we will get a winery involved, add some other fun things and increase the sizzle factor so we can raise even more money for a great cause.”
Ain’t nothing like the real thing, Baby. Sure, there are definitely some pretty cool Man Caves out there. And when the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field is down around 10 below, a heated recliner, ice cold beer and a 90-inch HD flat screen television probably sounds pretty good too. That all being said, there still isn’t anything like the fun of tailgating with friends and the camaraderie and excitement of being at a live event. Face it, it also feels pretty good to be able to say, “Yeah…I was there,” after the big game or event. Whether you chose to tailgate or do some Couchgating for the game, never do it up half way and be sure to have a great time with friends and family.