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Football financials: Find a story in the business of the Super Bowl

ravens fans

Baltimore Ravens fans cheer on their team. By Flickr user David Robert Crews.

Super Bowl XLVII hype is heating up as the Feb. 3 contest between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers draws near.  The season finale event generates perhaps more than its fair share of tried and true perennial business stories, from the speculation about half-time ads to the boost in business for sports bars and the annual run on big-screen television sets.

You know the drill — but there’s something so surreal about how this near-national-holiday has become another in a string of consumer spending frenzies, despite falling only six weeks after Christmas, that its very excess is rather mesmerizing.   From grocers to day spas, businesses large and small are trying to cash in on yet another day set aside to pig out, accumulate merchandise and draw together around  a flickering screen.   Here are few nuggets that might help you find fresh angles on Super Bowl mania in your neck of the woods:

Chicken wing shortage?   Yes, according to the National Chicken Council, which in a release bearing the subhead “Wing-onomics” says we’ll miss out on about 12 miliion wings this year, and pay more for them, snarfing up a mere 1.2 billion of them on Super Bowl Sunday.  (500 million chickens make the ultimate sacrifice for football fans?)  The release actually details a little more than most probably want to know about the anatomy of a wing but is worth reading as a springboard for checking in with food wholesalers in your area.  How do distributors of beer, brats, chili ingredients, snack foods and other edibles prep for game day?   Talk with wholesalers and grocers about what the game means to them; Progressive Grocer magazine is out with some interesting survey results about fan attitude toward snacking (no-guilt) and spending on game-day fare.   Here’s a press release that says some Kroger stores are holding game-day open houses; what are merchants near you doing?

For more ideas, here’s a CNBC report from last year that says Super Bowl ranks second only to Thanskgiving in food consumption, and a Chowhound blog post from last year citing a variety of sources related to fresh produce sales and other beneficiaries of Super Bowl Sunday.   Obviously you can contact an array of caterers, restaurant chefs and other food providers about what kind of business they’re doing this year, too, and how it compares to the past few years.

Geaux Green:  In more animal news we don’t like to think about, a carbon-offset program involving cows and methane is part of the Geaux Green (spelling a nod to the Super Bowl host city, New Orleans) initiative that bowl sponsor Entergy is running.  According to the Entergy press release, game-goers (and presumably anyone else) and buy carbon-offset credits to make up for the emissions they generate in attending the game; in addition to the Michigan-based cattle-farm project, credits can support efforts in a California redwood forest or at a Texas landfill.

Riding their jersey tails:  You might do a roundup of small businesses trying to eke out their place amid Super Bowl mania.  I found several examples of salons and day spas offering either alternative activities for the non-sports-fan or beautification and relaxation services aimed at prepping fans for a festive evening; some Super Bowl cruises and a ski lodge offering a Souper Bowl day of snowshoeing, food and other activities.  Look into designated driver services, taxi companies, pet sitters and kennels for those wanting to keep Fido out of the fray, nannies and baby-sitting services, pre- or post-game housecleaning/carpet steaming and other offbeat tie-ins to viewing the football game – or not.   Are casinos holding game-day promotions?  Are fans renting out hotel and motel rooms — especially at inns with heated indoor pools – for viewing parties, and what are the pros and cons of that for the hospitality biz?

Scams:  From fake merchandise to travel fraud, a number of Better Business Bureau branches are warning of Super Bowl scams; check with your area consumer protection agencies and attorney general about problems making the local rounds.

Au contraire: You can take a look at what kinds of businesses suffer from game-day blues, if any.  Here’s an article about the pros and cons of holding a real estate open house; as it notes, the game doesn’t really start until evening.  So do movie theaters, shopping malls, family restaurants and so on still get their usual share of weekend trade?

About the Author

Veteran financial writer Melissa Preddy served as a business writer, editor and columnist for The Detroit News from 1995 to 2008, is a Michigan-based freelance journalist. She now works as a writer and editor for a medical research unit of the University of Michigan Medical School. Follow her daily posts. | E-mail: Melissa Preddy

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