#TBT Sports Blog: Super Bowl 50 vs. The First Super Bowl

The Vince Lombardi NFL Super Bowl Trophy

Today’s #TBT sports blog rewinds football fans’ love affair with this weekend’s Super Bowl way back to January 15, 1967.

That’s the notable day that the now most watched television event in American history made its debut.

However, the initial metrics surrounding Super Bowl I pale in comparison to the pageantry and digital deluge that Super Bowl 50 will foster.

Given the NFL’s unparalleled growth into a $10 Billion per year enterprise, it’s hard to fathom that its 1967 experiment to pit the vaunted NFL against the upstart AFL in a winner-take-all championship game was not an immediate hit with advertisers and the general public.

Let’s replay the video and learn more.

Compared to the whopping $5 million per 30 second advertising spot that CBS Sports commands for SB50 coverage, Super Bowl I ads collected only $42,000 in revenue for each half minute spot.

In addition, the first Super Bowl was simulcast by two major sports networks. Both CBS and NBC held broadcast rights for the two (NFL and AFL) respective leagues at the time and reported a much lower than expected combined viewership.

Only 51.1 million American viewers witnessed the first big game on television, compared to an estimated 190 million fans anticipated to watch Sunday’s contest between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers.

However, a less than auspicious Super Bowl debut becomes evident upon greater scrutiny.

Securing a spot in the Los Angeles Coliseum for the historic contest between the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs was as easy as a chip shot field goal. A decent seat only set fans back $12. That’s right, just 12 bucks!

Amazingly, the 61,940 announced attendance in Los Angeles was nowhere near a sellout. More than 33,000 seats in the cavernous stadium were empty.

No wonder why the NFL can’t seem to locate the actual footage from Super Bowl I.

Average Price for a Super Bowl 50 Ticket

By comparison, Seat Geek claims that the average broker price for a Super Bowl 50 ticket commands $4,957. That’s correct! It now can take thousands of dollars just to enter the gates of the gleaming $2 billion+ Levi Stadium where a well heeled crowd exceeding 75,000 fans is expected.

For those cash fat fans who can afford to get into the game, no expense is now spared on entertaining them. Instantly recognized super star entertainers, or at least their agents, vie for the unprecedented exposure SB50 affords individual brands.

But, today’s SB50 entertainment is a far cry for the league’s first title contest, and it should be. Back in ’67, the halftime entertainment comprised of the University of Arizona Marching Band, 300 pigeons and 10,000 balloons, along with Al Hirt blasting away on his trumpet.

An American Cultural Phenomena

Certainly, the spectacle of modern era Super Bowls has morphed dramatically over the years to become an American cultural phenomena.

Today’s #TBT post recalls how television’s greatest single event has transformed over the course of the past half a century.

And, why, as football fans, we couldn’t be happier.

That’s because we’re all counting down the moments to Sunday’s kick-off.

MIKE on sports!

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