By Doug Porter
According to reports from around the country not much is going to happen this weekend approaching the importance of a certain Sunday football game. The New England Patriots will face off against the Seattle Seahawks (3:30pm PT) at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
An estimated 184 million Americans are expected to watch Super Bowl XLIX, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. That’s about 55 million more humans than voted in the 2012 presidential election. Beside the celebratory nature of the day, it’s an event with a huge economic impact.
So today I’ll indulge in some mostly off-the-field news items; some serious and some silly, starting with a look at the non-helmet wearing people who make it happen.
At the sports blog SBNation, a certain writer using the non-de-plume PFT Commentor is chronicling life from the fan’s point of view in the days leading up to this weekend’s match-up.
Today we learned about the 10,000 person strong volunteer army helping the poverty stricken National Football League. (I corrected the misspellings that SB Nation says were–they think–intentional. My spell check was having a nervous breakdown)
I cant think of a more deserving cause then the NFL. They are a non-profit just like the Red Cross or NAMBLA, and they are only able to survive in the cutthroat world of multi-billion dollar television packages because of the hard work and generosity of a Elite few- the volunteers. Here’s a fact: if it weren’t for the use of unpaid labor, the Superbowl would be force to subsist solely on the revenue generated from selling beer and Viagra commercials for $4 million per 30 seconds of airtime. Its a scary thought but the NFL lives paycheck to paycheck just like your average Joe.
So how is a small 501c3 like the NFL able to recruit so many folks to help them with there quaint homecoming game each year? Well when they evaluate each city’s bids to determine who gets the Superbowl, after crumpling up Baltimore’s application and throwing it on to the nearest floor, they look to see who can offer the most attractive plan aka which cities can promise the most infrastructure, best weather, and hottest strippers for television executives to bang- and all for the lowest expected cost. This years team was called the “Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee,” and I’ll be damned if they weren’t just a struggling little mom and pop charity too:
The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee is a private, non-profit Arizona corporation that is responsible for driving the state’s efforts for Super Bowl XLIX.
So the host committee pitches the NFL for the rights to get the super bowl, and then they hire a company called Party Planners West to deliver on all these promises to supply event staff, and emergency services for people who cant handle there liquor when I chug too much Mezcal before lunch. Well like any good commercial enterprise, the NFL knows the old business trick of just relying on unpaid labor to do every thing for you while you get lots of money…
PFT Commenter says so far volunteers have been asked to serve as lookouts to call the police on people drinking outdoors prior to the 2pm opening of the official Bud Light NFL-approved beer stands. And they do get nifty red tee shirts.
The Union Label
There are people aside from football players (winners get $97,000, losers get $49,000) who get paid and are well paid to work the super bowl. They’re called union members.
Arizona is a Right to Work state, which means business interests have succeeded in branding the state as officially hostile to unions. It’s a selling point, so they can brag about paying average factory wages that are 7% lower than elsewhere.
None-the-less, the NFL’s games need union organized industries to make things run smoothly.
From the Labors Edge blog:
While the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks duke it out on the gridiron, the television, radio and online production crews will be doing their magic to make the contest accessible for fans around the world. For the halftime show, talented stagehands will set up Katy Perry’s performance platform quicker than it takes most of us to make a sandwich. And all the stadium and support staff will be busy keeping fans satisfied and making sure things run smoothly. With more money spent on this game — a jaw-dropping $4.5 million for a 30-second commercial and another $11.7 million spent by stadium fans on food, drink and merchandise — it’s no wonder these folks can all get paid good wages.
But the Super Bowl’s impact will also be felt off the field in Arizona this year. Pilots and their crews will safely transport fans to and from the Phoenix area, bus drivers will get folks to the stadium, hotel workers will make sure that these people have a comfortable stay — and don’t forget about the highly-skilled construction crews that built University of Phoenix Stadium.
What do all of these divergent folks — stage builders, TV production crews, transportation and service industry personnel — have in common? Most of them get paid good wages for a fair day’s work, receive health insurance and are treated with respect on the job. As a result, they can provide for their families, go to the movies, enjoy an occasional dinner out and be comfortable members of the middle class living the American Dream.
If you’d like to do your bit to support companies that actually pay their employees well as you shop for your super bowl party, here’s the Labor 411 Product Spotlight.
Your 2015 Super Bowl Listicle
According to Mashable.com on Sunday people will consume more than one billion chicken wings, 120 million pounds of avocados and 2.5 million pounds of nuts. The American Institute of Food Distribution says the day is the second highest event in America for most food consumption — following Thanksgiving.
From 24/7 Wall Street we learn:
- According to AdWeek, as of January 28, 2015, all Super Bowl ad spots had been sold. The going rate for a 30-second spot in 2015 was $4.5 million.
- Taking a look back, Super Bowl commercials in 2014 cost $4 million for 30 seconds, and the very first Super Bowl commercials cost $42,000 for a 30-second spot.
- The top five pizza delivery days of the year are Super Bowl Sunday, New Year’s Eve, Halloween, the night before Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. The Super Bowl is generally number one on this list.
- In 2014, roughly 325 million gallons of beer were consumed.
- As of Thursday January 29, the cheapest Super Bowl ticket is $8,070, according to ESPN. Ticket prices were skyrocketing too as brokers bought more tickets, dwindling the supply, and then turned around and sold them on secondary ticket markets for an increased price.
The Halftime Show
The entertainment for this year’s halftime commercialfest is Katy Perry. More than one betting site is taking bets on what color hair the pop star with the most twitter fans will sport for the show. (Black/Brown 2/1, Pink/Red 3/1, Blue/Green 3/1, Blonde 4/1, Purple 5/1)
We already know she’s invited the always amazing Lenny Kravitz to join her, and the Associated Press is saying Missy Elliott will be on stage during the show.
Here’s the officially “leaked video” previewing the show.
The Washington Post published a video preview of Super Bowl XLIX commercials. These are the ones aired nationally. Other commercials are on aired in some markets.
And then there’s the locally based company’s commercial we’ve all been waiting for: Jack in the Box.
From UT-San Diego:
Following months long testing that included trying out 150 different burger combinations incorporating garlic herb butter, the San Diego-based chain is debuting this week its two winning versions of the new “buttery Jack” burgers that feature the garlicky butter melted on top of a quarter-pound patty.
In order to press home the point that this is no generic fast-food burger, the Super Bowl ads feature interviews with people (they’re not actors, insists Jack in the Box) trying out the new offering.
“Could this have come from Jack in the Box?” a taste tester is asked. “No way,” says one. “I don’t like fast food,” says another.
SIDE NOTE: With the assistance of the City Attorney’s office, Jack-in-the-Box has prevailed in the lawsuit filed by North Park residents over the illegal renovation of its Upas Street location. The case was thrown out because it wasn’t filed within the statute of limitations. Boo! Hiss!
Who Will Win?
Over 1 million people have voted at ESPN.com and they’re saying saying Patriots 55/45.
I’m rooting for Seattle. Because I dislike them less… ..Kinda reminds me of some of the votes I’ve had to make over the past few years.
Rah, Rah, Cheerleaders
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez has introduced legislation requiring cheerleaders for professional sports teams in California be treated as employees. Currently teams consider cheerleaders to be independent contractors. Lawsuits have been filed around the country saying that pay doesn’t even amount to minimum wage.
From City News Service:
“NFL teams and their billionaire owners have used professional cheerleaders as part of the game day experience for decades,” said Gonzalez, a cheerleader in college at Stanford.
“They have capitalized on their talents without providing even the most basic workplace protections like a minimum wage,” Gonzalez said. “If the guy selling you the beer deserves a minimum wage, so does the woman entertaining you on the field. All work is dignified and cheerleaders deserve the respect of these basic workplace protections.”
Gov. Christie’s PAC Problem
This story has nothing to do with football, but it’s just too funny not to post.
From the Auditor blog at NJ.com:
For The Auditor’s readers over 40, that’s internet parlance for “laughing my (you know what) ass off.”
As far as The Auditor can tell, the funny acronym was first noticed by a Twitter user byJimmB just hours after the leadership PAC was announced on Jan. 26. When a Buzzfeed political reporter tweeted the observation on Wednesday, Twitter users began mocking it en masse.
And today, American Bridge — the group with ties to Hillary Clinton that has been hounding Christie for the past year — had photoshopped Christie into a picture with pop duo LMFAO, whose biggest hit was “Party Rock Anthem” but who also performed the theme song for Christie’s least favorite television show, “Jersey Shore.
On This Day: 1798 – The first brawl in the House of Representatives took place. Congressmen Matthew Lyon and Roger Griswold fought on the House floor. 1882 – Four-time President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born in Hyde Park, NY. His legislative achievements included the creation of the National Labor Relations Act, which allows workers to organize unions, bargain collectively and strike. 1994 – Natalie Cole sang the national anthem at Super Bowl XXVIII.
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