Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bowl Me Over

The "Super Bowl", one of the most hyped sporting events ever imagined, takes place tonight. The frenzy has been building for weeks now, first with the playoffs for a chance to play in the game, and then with the hundreds of news reporters filling the city where the game will be held, in this case, Arlington Texas. There are news reports on the teams, and the individual players, and then reports on the commercials that will air during the broadcast, and that folks, is the giveaway. This isn't a football game, it's a cash cow! For example, look at the cost of tickets on the street right now. People wouldn't hesitate to spend $2000 for a single ticket to the big game in a distant city, but would never pay anything close to watch their team play at home. All the hype makes this worth it. I suppose a chance to get drunk in the stands while millions of television viewers look on is just too good to pass up.

But the real hook here is the money to be made. The Super Bowl hasn't always existed. The first game was played in 1967 at the Los Angeles Coliseum featuring the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Packers went on to win it in front of a less than sellout crowd by a score of 35-10. The die was cast for the future! The hype machine went into full production mode, and over the years, has resulted in millions in revenue for the league, advertisers, teams, and players.

But is this really a "Super Bowl"? Are teams from beyond our borders ever considered? Much like the "World Series", only American teams are able to play. This makes the whole idea of the game seem sort of patriotic, and buying the endless stream of products pitched at you during the course of the telecast, seem like your duty. Somehow, you're considered to be some sort of anarchist if you're not sitting there watching the game with a Bud in one hand, and the other hand in a bag of Doritos, while bragging about your new GoDaddy account. It's not about the football, it's about the Benjamins!

NASCAR has the same thing going on, but in reverse. The "Season Opener" is held just after the Super Bowl, at the Daytona International Speedway. The media buzz for this event begins just after the last race of the previous season. All the hype, the endless commercials are there, but with a different formula. Instead of a fan having a home team, attending the games, and being loyal to that team only, NASCAR fans have a driver they follow, and often attend the race at different venues across the country. This way the cash gets spread around to different track owners, vendors, and even different cities. NASCASH oops, I meant NASCAR has used the same formula for the hype, but a different formula to chose the winner. Instead of just winning a game, or in this case a race, they have instituted a points system, where drivers are given points for everything from leading a lap, to leading the most laps, to not soiling themselves after a big wreck. After a nearly full season, the top 12 drivers lose their points, and start over, completing 10 more races to finally chose a winner. It is possible to never win a race, but win the championship! WTF? Is this competition? No, of course not, it's marketing!

In the end, there is always a winner, and the glory that goes with it. A nice Super Bowl ring, or NASCAR trophy are tangible reminders of victory, but to the owners, leagues, and advertisers, it doesn't really matter who wins, it matter who pays! Sad, ain't it?

So who do you like in today's Lingerie Bowl?

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