Super Bowl Business Lessons


By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek

February 1, 2013

In the 47 years since the first Super Bowl was held, the game has grown from a January afterthought to a de facto national holiday. Thirty-second commercials have grown from $42,000 to $4 million. More than 110 million Americans watch live. If the Super Bowl were its own country, it would have an estimated GDP of nearly $3 billion. While the Super Bowl’s substantial growth primarily is the result of football’s massive popularity, small business owners can learn a lot from how the NFL manages its signature event.

The biggest lesson is protect your brand. The NFL is notorious for how strictly it guards its trademarks, including the use of the phrase “Super Bowl.” Doing so allows the league to sell sponsor exclusivity and licensing rights for millions of dollars. Small business can benefit greatly by controlling where and how their brand is used. Because of the trademark restrictions, some businesses turn to guerilla marketing to capitalize on the Super Bowl without paying. Business owners should keep an eye open for creative marketing tactics to apply to their own companies.




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