The Super Bowl has become a Mid-winter National Festival, a celebration of excess that somehow keeps growing. It is best spoken of in terminology created by Thorstein Veblen in his examination of the lives of the new rich in America’s Gilded Age of the late 19th century. Such phrases as Conspicuous Consumption, Conspicuous Waste, and Pecuniary Emulation seem to have been created for the spectacle of the Super Bowl. There are a multitude of measurements of superness including television ratings, television production techniques, corporate parties, and advertising costs. This chapter chronicles the growth and development of these indicators from Super Bowl I to Super Bowl LIV. Cities and States spend excessively, as indeed required by the NFL, to get the right to host a Super Bowl that allegedly brings get wealth and notoriety to that location. Individuals spend excessively to attend the game or to stay home and host lavish or modest parties. The amount of food and drink consumed on Super Sunday is second only to Thanksgiving Day. The use of Roman Numerals gives an Imperial touch to the occasion. The Super Bowl occupies growing space on the internet and in social media adapting to every new wrinkle in e-technology. The commercials for the game have become a mini-film festival and for many have become the main interest of the Super Bowl, not the game. Gambling on the game has spread worldwide along with television broadcasting, and every possible bet imaginable is made on and around the game. There is high interest in the parties and for some, particularly the Playboy and Maxim parties, attendance is a sure method of conspicuous leisure. There is two weeks between the Conference Championships and the Super Bowl to allow sufficient time to binge on the event. In the end, it is growth in everything even remotely related to the Super Bowl that marks this National holiday that excessively celebrates excess.
Keywords: Thorstein Veblen, conspicuous consumption, mid-winter festival, television ratings, television production techniques, corporate parties, advertising costs, roman numerals, individual and group parties, e-technology
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