Billions of chicken wings, millions of slices of pizza, and nearly 7 million pounds of avocados? Must be Super Bowl time.
It’s no secret: Football is America’s most popular sport, and the NFL its most widely-watched, profitable league. The numbers back that up: The Super Bowl is routinely the most-watched television event of the year, pulling in numbers that make other TV events flush with envy. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), 179 million people worldwide are expected to watch the Baltimore Ravens take on the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, up from 172 .5 million last year. The 2012 Oscars, by comparison, netted 39 million viewers. Game 5 of the 2012 NBA Finals? 12.5 million.
And America’s biggest TV-watching “holiday” is rapidly becoming one of its top consumer-spending holidays as well. The NRF projects that shoppers will spend a combined $12.3 billion on food, gear, and electronics for the Super Bowl this year, up from $11 billion last year.
Why the jump? The NRF suggests that the teams involved could play a role. The 49ers and the Ravens are both hugely popular franchises that haven’t reached the Super Bowl in quite a while: The Ravens last made the trip in 2000; the once-dynastic 49ers in 1994. Some 17 million fans are expected to buy team apparel or accessories, up from 14.8 million last year.
But for the most part, we’re spending our money on food. Super Bowl Sunday is the second-biggest food “holiday” in the US, behind Thanksgiving. It’s a booming weekend for the most popular foods: namely, wings, chips. and pizza.
An estimated 1.2 billion chicken wings will be consumed this Super Bowl Sunday, according to the Washington-based National Chicken Council. That’s down slightly from last year, because chicken wing prices have soared recently in the face of higher demand and soaring costs for feed – wings currently cost $2.11 per pound on average, up 26 cents from a year ago. There were even frantic rumors circulating last week of a Super Bowl chicken wing shortage, but the council quickly dispelled them.
"The good news for consumers is that restaurants plan well in advance to ensure they have plenty of wings for the big game," National Chicken Council economist Bill Roenikg said in a press statement.
It’s also the busiest day of the year for pizza joints. Dominoes expects to sell 11 million slices this Super Bowl Sunday; Papa John’s sold around 8 million last year. Other big food stats: Football revelers ate 11.2 million pounds of potato chips last year. Another (surprising) contender: avocados. Thanks to guacamole, an estimated 79 million avocados will be eaten during Super Bowl festivities.
Of course, the Super Bowl is, more than any other, a day for watching television. And to properly mark the occasion, 7.5 million households intend to buy a new TV, according to the NRF. That’s 2 million more than last year, when 5.5. million households bought a new TV for the Super Bowl. Happy high-def football, everyone!