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There are millions of dollars to be made from the Super Bowl, but while the country’s biggest one-day sporting event is a huge money-maker, it’s no guaranteed get-rich-quick scheme.
Who’s likely to make money when the San Francisco 49ers and the San Diego Chargers meet at Miami’s Joe Robbie Stadium Sunday:
IT PAYS TO WIN _ SOMETIMES
Super profits may not go along with Super Bowl teams.
While reaching the NFL’s championship game has its rewards _ increased ticket sales, local sponsorships and media exposure, for example _ there are drawbacks.
Yes, sales of merchandise like team sweatshirts usually increases, but the extra revenue is split among all the NFL teams. Success also brings higher salary demands from players that could cut into postseason profits.
The 49ers and the Chargers expect to net $1 million each after expenses, according to one team executive. After that, it depends on the team, the players and the location.
``Playing in the Super Bowl gives you a platform to be on display to the rest of world,″ Rich Dalrymple, the Dallas Cowboys’ director of public relations, said. ``Once you’re out there, people start calling.″
The Dallas Cowboys are still getting calls although the Super Bowl champions the past two years lost to the 49ers in this seaason’s NFC title game.
Still, teams do tend to profit from Super Bowls, with most of the additional revenue coming from local radio contracts and sponsorships.
``That’s where you might see added revenue,″ Dalrymple said. ``Playing, especially winning, in the Super Bowl, puts the team on a different level and there’s more competition to do business with you.″
The Chargers, playing in their first Super Bowl, already are reaping some benefits. They enjoyed five of the top six crowds in their history at Jack Murphy Stadium this season, and are sure to have increased season ticket sales next season.
HOSTS WITH THE MOST
Bill Mitchell Jr. is counting on ``a horrendous amount of takeout orders″ during Super Bowl week at Rickey’s, his family’s sports bar.
The specialty of the house is chicken wings, and Mitchell expects to go through 80,000 of them in the NFL’s biggest week of the year.
The Mitchells are among the thousands of Miami-area business people profiting from the Super Bowl. The game is expected to generate $150 million in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas.
Thirty of 112 hotels on the Super Bowl host committee’s list were sold out two weeks ago.
``There’s not even closet space here,″ Miami Airport Marriott reservations supervisor Brigitte Frei said.
STAY HOME, MAKE MONEY
It’s prime time for hometown entrepreneurs.
Len Peterson, who owns Shirtique Pro Shop in San Francisco, had six dozen Super Bowl T-shirts for sale the morning after the NFC championship game. They sold out quickly.
Ken Watson’s Graphics Sportswear started printing 30,000 T-shirts featuring the 49ers and Chargers seconds after the NFC championship game. ``We were all set up and ready to run at halftime, but we didn’t dare start the presses until the game was over,″ Watson said.
Stewart Kesselman, owner of San Francisco’s Mr. Ticket, was quoting Super Bowl prices starting at $1,100. He predicted up to 1,500 fans would call daily for tickets.
At the Bus Stop bar, bartender Marty Lindstrom said Super Sunday is one of the best days of the year, ``especially when the 49ers are playing.″
``We open at 9 and by 9:30 we’ll be jammed and it will be that way until we close, win or lose,″ he said. ``It’s like a triple day.″
With the Chargers in their first Super Bowl, San Diego sports bars, restaurants and liquor stores are raking it in.
``The phone is ringing off the hook,″ said Debi Akin, owner of D.Z. Akin’s, a restaurant with customers placing $1,000 orders for party food. ``I’m in shock.″
But Max Schetter, general manager of the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce, says the city will gain more in intangibles like publicity and national exposure than immediate hard cash.
The Super Bowl should be worth about $25 million to the ABC television network, industry insiders say.
ABC declined to comment on that estimate. But insiders, who spoke on condition of anonymity, estimated the network would generate $75 million advertising revenue during the more than six hours it expects to devote to the game. Balanced against that is an estimated $50 million in expenses.
Whatever the theoretical profit figure for this year’s game, ABC won’t be able to put it in the bank. Super Bowl profits typically offset losses from exhibition and less popular regular season games.
IS IT WORTH IT?
Advertisers use different yardsticks to measure whether the millions they spend for Super Bowl advertising time is worthwhile. This year, the average rate for a 30-second commercial on ABC reached a record $1 million.
Anheuser-Busch Inc. recently boasted its Bud Bowl promotion tied to last year’s Super Bowl helped boost beer sales by $15 million. It purchased time worth $7.2 million on the 1994 telecast.
But Donald Moonjian of Alamo Rent A Car Inc. drew no conclusions about Alamo’s rental performance following the $2.7 million worth of ad time it bought on last year’s game.
``February is always a strong month for us because we rent cars in warm-weather locations,″ he said. But he said the ads were worthwhile because research showed the ads increased consumer awareness of Alamo.
NOT ALWAYS THE MOST VALUABLE
A strong showing in the Super Bowl can help an athlete’s endorsement career but seldom launches one, marketing experts say. An examination of Super Bowl most valuable players bears that out.
For every commercial superstar like Joe Namath, Joe Montana and Troy Aikman, there are many more like Doug Williams, Ottis Anderson and Mark Rypien who have not become standout endorsers.
David Burns, whose Chicago firm matches advertisers and athletes, said a good Super Bowl performance can result in more offers for personal appearances. But advertisers are more interested in consistently good performance over time as well as a charismatic personality when signing a player.
Montana was a two-time Super Bowl MVP before his endorsement career blossomed during the late 1980s, Burns said.
Brian Murphy, publisher of Sports Marketing Letter, said a well-played Super Bowl may be a factor in an endorsement deal but is no guarantee.
``Some people with great athletic ability don’t come across well on TV,″ he said.
LE SUPER BOWL
Europeans call the game American football, distinguishing it from what most of them call football _ the sport Americans call soccer. Terminology aside, the Super Bowl is something of an event in Europe.
In Britain, Budweiser is sponsoring the game on live TV for an estimated 1 million-plus viewers, and holding promotions in about 10,000 pubs and clubs. In Paris, fans can go to any of a dozen or so Super Bowl bashes.
Europeans like T-shirts, hats and posters with American team names, but sales of Super Bowl paraphernalia are negligible.
NFL Properties, which markets pro football souvenirs, says Europeans focus on a few well-known teams, including the 49ers, Cowboys and Miami Dolphins, rather than the stars of any particular season.
The Los Angeles Raiders, who didn’t make the playoffs, have been the top seller for years. Youngsters apparently like their name and logo.
The Chargers ``have no following at all,″ said Andy Tompsett, retail sales manager at NFL properties.
London’s bookmakers are taking bets on the game. The big bookmaker Ladbrokes said it takes in $320,000 in NFL bets a season, about half on the Super Bowl. That’s nothing like soccer action _ gamblers bet $16 million at Ladbrokes on last summer’s World Cup final between Brazil and Italy.
ODDS ARE, YOU LOSE
The Super Bowl is the most heavily bet sports event in Nevada’s sports books, which offer the only legal betting in the country on sports other than horse racing. Last year, bettors wagered $54.5 million on the game, and bookmakers took $7.5 million of that in profit.
Las Vegas oddsmakers set the point spread, which is followed by illegal bookies across the country taking in unknown millions of dollars in bets. Office and bar pools account for millions more, but authorities say they don’t know just how much is wagered illegally.