Is hosting the Super Bowl worth the NFL’s ransom? | Les Carpenter | Sport | The Guardian

The Super Bowl draws in the crowds but host cities often have to bend to the wishes of the NFL. Photograph: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Super Bowl draws in the crowds but host cities often have to bend to the wishes of the NFL. Photograph: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Politicians love to brag about the financial perks of hosting a Super Bowl – but cities like Houston are buying themselves civic pride, not a boost to the economy

Source: Is hosting the Super Bowl worth the NFL’s ransom? | Les Carpenter | Sport | The Guardian

If You Go Near the Super Bowl, You Will Be Surveilled Hard – APRIL GLASER. 01.31.16. 7:00 AM

Super Bowl 50 will be big in every way. A hundred million people will watch the game on TV. Over the next ten days, 1 million people are expected to descend on the San Francisco Bay Area for the festivities. And, according to the FBI, 60 federal, state, and local agencies are working together to coordinate surveillance and security at what is the biggest national security event of the year.

The Department of Homeland Security, the agency coordinating the Herculean effort, classifies every Super Bowl as a special event assignment rating (SEAR) 1 event, with the exception of the 2002 Super Bowl, which got the highest ranking because it followed the September 11 terror attacks—an assignment usually reserved for only the Presidential Inauguration. A who’s-who of agencies, ranging from the DEA and TSA to the US Secret Service to state and local law enforcement and even the Coast Guard has spent more than two years planning for the event.

All of which means that if you’re attending the game, or just happen to be in the general vicinity of the myriad events leading up to the Super Bowl, you will be watched. Closely. The festivities started Saturday and run through February 7, when the Carolina Panthers meet the Denver Broncos at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. Here’s a sampling of the technology Big Brother can use to surveil you during the Super Bowl in the Bay Area.

Article continues:


Next year, CBS will broadcast the Super Bowl for the first time since 2013. When it does, it will send the game not just to its traditional television viewers or its mobile app, but to Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, and Xbox One, all for free, with no authentication required. For a very specific subset of sports-loving cord-cutters, Christmas has come early.

The most common complaint about cutting the cord is that you can’t reliably watch sports, or other marquee live events like the Oscars. Workarounds like antennas or streaming television packages like Sling TV can be either clunky or unreliable. And previous adventures in bringing big events online for the masses have been hamstrung by a variety of limitations. ABC required cable subscription authentication to watch the Oscars, despite originating on a broadcast network—that is, as an event ostensibly viewable for free. NBC made last year’s Super Bowl available without authentication, but only on mobile apps and on the web. The network also streamed its Sunday night games on mobile apps, but required authentication for those. CBS has streamed AFC playoff games in the past with no authentication required, but only on mobile apps. It gets confusing.

You’ll simply need to open the CBS Sports app on the set-top box of your choice and hope you bought enough dip.

This year’s Super Bowl—along with a Thanksgiving NFL game, and another played in London—will suffer no such streaming restrictions. You won’t need to prove you have cable or buy an ungainly antenna to view it. You’ll simply need to open the CBS Sports app on the set-top box of your choice and hope you bought enough dip.

“There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach with our streaming rights/offerings, and we always want to make sure we offer the best user experience for each event,” says CBS Interactive spokesperson Annie Rohrs.

That’s a huge relief those who have abandoned live TV altogether in their quest for streaming liberation, and who weren’t planning to watch the Super Bowl at a friend’s house or bar. That’s likely a minuscule fraction, though, of the more than 100 million people who tune into the biggest game in sports every year. Which means, says streaming media analyst Dan Rayburn, that we shouldn’t read too much into it.

“I don’t think it’s a big deal at all, frankly,” says Rayburn, who argues that most people already have access to CBS either through cable or an antenna set-up. “It’s nice that it’s available on things other than apps, but if you’re in front a of a big TV to begin with, why wouldn’t you watch it on broadcast?”

Article continues:

The Crazy Final Minutes of the Super Bowl, in Five Vines – By Ben Mathis-Lilley FEB. 1 2015 10:21 PM

Patriots Win Super Bowl After Shocking Last-Second Goal-Line Interception

Malcolm Butler intercepted a Russell Wilson pass on the goal line with 20 seconds left as the New England Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 in a thrilling, confounding Super Bowl XLIX.

Tom Brady threw a touchdown to Julian Edelman with just over two minutes left to give the Patriots the lead.

But with just a minute to go, Jermaine Kearse bobbled and caught a tipped pass to put the Seahawks in scoring position in the most unlikely fashion.

In Super Bowl, groups see political football – By Lydia Wheeler – 02/01/15 09:00 AM EST

Companies have for years kept consumers on the couch for commercial breaks during the Super Bowl, and now, with a captive audience, the big game has become more than a place to push products.

Courtesy of Anheuser-Busch

For those with the resources, Sunday’s Super Bowl XLIX will offer an unparalleled venue to attract public attention on a host of nationally debated issues, including cyber-bullying and domestic violence.

Recent years have seen a growing focus on politics and issues of national concern during breaks in the game.  In 2010, for instance, former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow starred in a pro-life commercial with his mother.
In 2013, the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns aired an ad pushing for gun control and last year Coca-Cola’s ad in which “America the Beautiful” was sung in multiple languages incited controversy over whether the company was pushing for immigration reform.

Companies have recognized that they can bring more attention to issues with a 30-second spot than advocates could with any number of bills or congressional hearings.

And, not coincidentally, they can polish up their public image at the same time.

“It’s not about running an ad and counting the sales at the 7-Eleven counter,” said Paul Venables, founder and executive creative director of Venables Bell & Partners, a San Francisco-based advertising agency, which has created Audi’s Super Bowl ad every year since 2008.

“It’s about where your brand stands with peoples’ emotions and how they feel connected to it.”

Taking up a cause, he said, has become a way for companies to ensure they’re part of the water cooler conversation at the office the next day.

This year, Coca-Cola is using its airtime to fight cyber bullying.

One of four teasers the company released, shows people typing things like “I hate u” and “you’re a total loser” on the Internet before asking the question, “How much more hate can people take?” Each teaser closes with the hashtag #MakeitHappy.

Article continues:

At Long Last: It’s Super Sunday – Tom Goldman FEBRUARY 01, 2015 5:31 AM ET

Football pundits say could be one of the closest, most exciting championship games ever.

Football pundits say could be one of the closest, most exciting championship games ever. Charlie Riedel/AP

Are you ready for 17 and a half minutes of football???!!!!

That, according to a study by the Media Education Foundation, is how much live football action there was in last year’s Super Bowl. And pretty much what we can expect Sunday when the New England Patriots take on the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 49.

But even if actual football is just a sliver of the four-hour NBC broadcast, it’s still a relief finally to be done with the pre-Super Bowl week of hype — which ran the gamut this year from frivolous to ominous.

There was talk and more talk about footballs losing air and Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch ceding air (time). There was Tom Brady’s cold — he’s better — and Bill Belichick’s love of monkey puppets. Really Bill? You call that a “stuffed animal?”

There was NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell trying to move on from the league’s “tough year,” and reporters saying not so fast — a lot of questions are still unanswered.

But today all the talk ends, as attention turns to what football pundits say could be one of the closest, most exciting championship games ever.

There’s been no shortage of statistics and scenarios explaining why the Patriots will win their fourth Super Bowl of the 2000s — the team’s first since 2005 — and confirm their dynasty status. There’s just as much fodder for why Seattle will become the ninth team to win back-to-back titles and secure its own dynasty label.

The teams have identical 14-4 records. In general, Seattle’s offense has leaned more on the running of Lynch, whose “Beast Mode” nickname captures his churning, relentless style. New England’s offense relies on the brilliant pocket passing of quarterback Brady.

Still, the Seahawks won a thrilling NFC Championship game thanks to quarterback Russell Wilson’s dazzling throws in overtime; and New England running back LeGarrette Blount was beastly himself in the AFC title game, running for 148 yards and three touchdowns.

The point is, both teams can win throwing and running the ball. Although for each offensive unit, a formidable defense stands in the way.

Article continues:

Nonprofit NFL Seeks Super Bowl Volunteers, Again – by FRANK DEFORD October 15, 2014 3:39 AM ET

The NFL is looking for 10,000 volunteers for this season’s Super Bowl. Commentator Frank Deford thinks other causes are more deserving.

Super Bowl volunteer Ben Schreiber distributes fan guides for Super Bowl XLVI festivities, in 2012.

Super Bowl volunteer Ben Schreiber distributes fan guides for Super Bowl XLVI festivities, in 2012.

Chad Ryan/CSM /Landov

That familiar old preface we so often hear — usually from long-winded people — is: “To make a long story short.” I’ve noticed lately that that expression has become more common, but to make a long story short, it’s been shortened to just “long story short.” I’ll even bet it’s gotten initialed in the text universe to L. S. S.

Well, long story short, last year I was astonished to discover that guileless fans were actually volunteering their services, for free, gratis, to the Super Bowl — which, of course, makes a gazillion million dollars for the NFL and its gracious owners. Now, incredibly, the NFL is looking for 10,000 volunteers to donate their time and effort to this season’s Super Bowl in Arizona.

Of course, I want you to keep in mind that the NFL is officially a nonprofit, even though commissioner Roger Goodell makes in excess of $40 million a year. (Lord knows what they’d pay him if he actually was doing a good job.) Of all the great, needy charities in the world, desperate for volunteers, who, in their right mind, would pick the Super Bowl?

The 2018 Super Bowl has been awarded to Minneapolis, and thanks to superb investigative work by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, a 153-page list of stipulations that the league has demanded, has been revealed. Here are just some of the NFL demands for what it trumpets as ‘America’s unofficial holiday’:

  • The league gets every cent of ticket revenue
  • 35,000 free parking spaces
  • Free ads in local newspapers and on radio stations, and lots of free billboards (just so we’ll know the Super Bowl is in town)
  • All ATMs at the stadium must be those with NFL-approved credit cards
  • Free presidential suites in the top hotels
  • If cell phone reception isn’t quite good enough around and about, then Minneapolis has to build the NFL sufficient new cell phone towers
  • The NFL even unsuccessfully tried to demand the right to select the only vendors at the airport — the public airport — who could sell NFL merchandise

And the greed goes on and on. Worth keeping in mind, too, that the new Minneapolis stadium is costing about $500 million in taxpayer money with a sweetheart deal for the owners. Last year I said I was amazed that anybody would volunteer for the NFL. Now, it’s simple to declare: if you people in Arizona volunteer for this season’s Super Bowl, you’re suckers.