In the UK, American Football is not a popular sport – it is basically Rugby but with extra padding. However, us Brits love a bandwagon. All year we can go all year without even hearing or caring about horse racing but when the Grand National comes along the whole family get involved, even your granny is down at William Hill putting a line on for the latest newborn. The Super Bowl is similar, the majority of us Brits don’t watch American Football nor could we name you a player but you can bet a good chunk of us Brits stayed up till silly o’clock along with over 100m others to watch the Broncos and the Panthers battle it out and several businesses were willing to part with $5m of their hard-earned for a 30 second commercial, but why? ENTERTAINMENT.
Without a doubt, the most-talked about part of each Superbowl is not about the actual teams, their performance or the players but everything else that surrounds the event. From Fall Out Boy, Skrillex, Alicia Keys, Metallica, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Hunter Hayes all performing free shows during the week in San Francisco as a pre-Superbowl party, Lady Gaga being the latest A-list pop Queen to sing The Star-Spangled Banner and a pre-game ceremony that would even shame the Olympics – and that is all before a ball has even been kicked!
The match goes on and I don’t even know what’s even going on but I put a £20 bet on Denver Broncos to win thanks to my Granny’s advice that has been passed down through generations. Thanks to her I won nearly £80.
Grandma Stewart – “Always pick the one with the best name.”
Fast-forward to half-time, without a doubt the most anticipated annual event, no the match but the half-time show. A show that has attracted the biggest stars in the world such as Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Justin Timberlake, U2, Madonna and this year was all about Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars w/ Mark Ronson on the decks. It was literally everything but the kitchen sink crammed into 15 minutes. Coldplay trying to break the record for biggest orchestra, Beyonce realising she has a new single, album and tour to plug along with a cushy $50m deal with Pepsi who conveniently sponsor the halftime show, Bruno Mars woke up from his year-long hibernation to put himself back out in the public eye because he’s dropping his new album soon as well and Mark Ronson was clearly just happy to be there for the banter ’cause he loves a party, what better way to do that by performing the biggest-selling song of 2015?!
After all the chaos and the match resumed and the Denver Broncos won it seemed like that every bit of confetti in existence rained down on the stadium, owners, coaches gave speeches that boomed around the stadium while everyone cheered while the pitch. Overall, It was interesting to watch and definitely entertaining.
However, I am getting sidetracked from my original point I planned to make, I’m a regular football (soccer) guy and have been since I was a kid. However, never have I witnessed anything like that at a football match. The Fifa World Cup comes along every 4 years, the biggest footballing event isn’t even a yearly event! During a World Cup final, the teams come out, sing their own national anthem and then go on to the pitch, play football, half-time comes and goes with minimal fuss, followed by the second half and the winning team go up and collect the trophy. The only difference being between the final and a regular match is the closing ceremony – albeit usually quite a tame affair, the crowd is a bit louder, the pundits will wear smarter suits and the teams collect medals at the end of it. There are no public emotional speeches belted out to the stadium. Sometimes, they might let off some fireworks though at the end to use up some of their mind-boggling profits
rather than pop it in their bank accounts.
Can you imagine during the Fifa World Cup 2018 final in Russia at half-time instead of dealing with Michael Owen stating the obvious we could watch The Rolling Stones or Justin Timberlake or even have our very own left shark?
I am a tad jealous, my sport doesn’t go all out for its biggest event when the Super Bowl alone eclipses the World Cup in terms with regards to off-the-field entertainment. Maybe in a sense, it is better that people talk about Mario Goetze’s winning goal in comparison to the Super Bowl where the headlines will be dominated with that of Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars instead of the players. Hell, even the commercials are more talked about that than the game.
Do you think the World Cup is best left to focus more on the sport or would you like to see more of Fifa’s budget get spent on entertainment? Let me know in the comments or on social media.