If The Super Bowl Starts at 9 AM Pacific, Does Anyone Care?

Lord Rog dropped a nice little tidbit about the possibility of holding the Super Bowl across the pond in London down the road. I’m not particularly interested of getting into the merits of holding a league’s championship abroad (it’s stupid, do you think the Champions League final would ever be held in a non-European stadium?), but there are some crucial blocks to the spectacle that the Super Bowl has become, making it damn near impossible to do this properly.

As an advertising spectacle and general money pit, the game has to start in the evening for the East Coast and early afternoon on the West Coast. In order to make that work, the game would have to be played at 3 A.M. in London. You can’t move it out of its prime time home on American television — it won’t earn nearly the amount of ad cash that it normally does if the game starts at say, 9 or 10 AM Pacific.

Problem #2 revolves around getting the sport’s fans to London — tickets are expensive enough, add in international airfare, exchange rates (the British pound is still kicking the American dollar’s ass), and it becomes even less of a proposition that the season ticket holders for the two participating teams would attend in any great waves. (We’ll see this when the Giants and Dolphins play in Wembley rather soon.) The only folks that will be able to make the trip are the richer end of the season-ticket holders; the rest of the crowd would consist of people who know little about American football and the luxury box crowd that goes just to be seen at any elite sporting event.

I’m sure the NFL can do just about anything and have it turn to gold, but the time difference and how it affects American T.V. and the fans who travel to watch make the possibility of having a Super Bowl anywhere in Europe a bad idea on the merits alone. It really doesn’t matter how much exposure the league could gain in the U.K.

4 Responses

  1. Very well thought out analysis. I pondered this a bit, especially the time zone thing, and came to the same conclusion – it just couldn’t work. No way they’ll tape delay it (as they do the Olympics). Nope, it’ll just have to stay in a US-friendly time zone for it to work. Not to mention the complaints teams might have about how jet lag and time zone adjustments messed up their practice routines before the biggest game of their lives.

    It could never work. But as a regular season game it totally works, given a bye week afterwards. The game would be primetime in England, and just a regular afternoon game here. It works really well for both markets! Hence, you get a Giants game in Wembly next week….

  2. SML – thanks.

    You can do regular season games every so often in Wembley, but all the pomp and circumstance of the biggest championship game in sport is badly suited to going across an ocean. Goodell’s number crunchers and sales folk will probably convince him not to seriously do this.

  3. Well honestly, the Super Bowl has lost a lot anyways. I barely look forward to it, to the football fan, the conference championships are as good as it gets. There’s so much that that goes into the Super Bowl, commercials, pre game, halftime shows, build up, that the actual game itself now feels like a side show.

    A London SB would at least start to trim away with all that excess garbage.

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