Do you want to watch the Super Bowl live at the stadium? You’re not alone. In 2012, at Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, Indiana, 68,658 people watched at the stadium. Because a stadium holds a limited number of spectators, the NFL looks for other ways to increase its audience and therefore increase its revenue.

How the Super Bowl is watched varies according to the gender of the viewer.

The Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, is packed with fans even during a regular season game, as in this game between the Washington Redskins and the Carolina Panthers in January 2010.

Television allows millions of people to see the game. That Super Bowl in Indianapolis? Another 111,346,000 viewers saw it on TV. Even though those viewers don’t pay for tickets, the NFL still makes money on those viewers. It sells its audience to TV companies for additional revenue. In 2011, the revenue deal for NBC, Fox, CBS, and ESPN to broadcast NFL football games through to 2019 is $42 billion. Revenue from satellite TV provider DirecTV is an additional $1 billion until the deal is renegotiated in 2014. TV broadcasters are willing to pay so much money to the NFL because the broadcasters turn around and sell TV commercial time to other businesses. The network provides millions of Super Bowl viewers to the businesses and charges them enough money for a 30-second commercial spot so that the network makes a profit.

Besides television, there are people watching live-streaming video on their computers over the Internet. Owners of Verizon mobile phones and tablets can watch live-stream games in their local areas on a special NFL app. That brings the NFL another $1 billion over four years. This gives the NFL even more viewers and fans, and Verizon gets more customers who will pay for the service to use its mobile data network.


“There is no greater way for a brand to reach a mass audience these days. It’s a fragmented world out there everywhere else but the NFL.”

Marc Ganis, president of Sportscorp, a sports consultancy


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