The Super Bowl is the National Football League's (NFL) end-of-season championship game. Typically played on the last Sunday in January or the first Sunday in February, it is the most widely viewed single-day sporting event worldwide every year. There are many reasons the Super Bowl is so popular. One possible reason is its singular decisiveness: Whereas other professional sports teams (Major League Baseball teams, for example) win championships by prevailing in a series of games, the two teams vying for the NFL championship each year get only one chance to win. The Super Bowl is a winner-takes-all engagement. The game is intriguing, dramatic and exciting because of the finality of its outcome. According to the NFL, the potential global audience of the Super Bowl is estimated at over a billion people, though this figure has not been verified [source: Stevenson]. The NFL has a random drawing for the right to buy tickets, since the demand is so much greater than the supply. In 2009, the highest retail price of a Super Bowl ticket was $1,000, but tickets were resold by brokers for up to $8,000 [source: Kuriloff].
In many ways, the Super Bowl is more than just a sporting event. A large percentage of people who watch the Super Bowl watch it just for the commercials. The game is such an enormous public spectacle that advertisers will pay huge fees for commercial slots, which are the most expensive in television. In 1967, Super Bowl ads cost only $42,000 (equivalent to approximately $121,000 in 2008). In 2009, 30 seconds of commercial time cost around $3 million. Since Super Bowl commercials receive so much hype and anticipation, advertisers have to live up to a lot of pressure. Some of the most famous Super Bowl commercials have been for Pepsi, Budweiser, Nike, McDonald's and Reebok. ¬Probably the best-known Super Bowl commercial of all time was the 1984 commercial, in which Apple promoted its new Macintosh computer. The commercial was meant to evoke George Orwell's "1984," and after that Super Bowl, the ad was never run again.
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