Why the Super Bowl wouldn’t work in the UK

SB50There are a lot of similarities between the UK and the USA, but there are also a LOT of differences. When it comes to going big at a sports event, nobody does it quite like America and a lot of us here in the UK quite simply, just don’t get it.

From a marketing point of view, Super Bowl Sunday is about as big as it gets in the US, with dozens (46 this year) of the worlds biggest brands and companies looking to gain exposure from being associated with the event in order to sell more bottles/packets/units/tickets/cans etc. It’s no surprise either, with an estimated 100m+ Americans tuning in to watch. The thing is, a lot of the people who watch, are tuning in for this very reason, some outlets are reporting as many as 50% of Super Bowl viewers were watching for reasons other than the game itself. Be that the featured advertising, the movie featurettes or the aggressively sponsored half-time show.

So why wouldn’t it work in the UK? We like sports, we like music and we love a good feature advert (John Lewis at Christmas springs to mind) well… firstly, can you imagine 100,000 Liverpool fans patiently sitting through a OneDirection performance when their team is 1-0 down at half-time to Hull in the FA Cup final? No. They’d flick over to Sky Sports News or go and make a cuppa. Can you imagine the overjoyed Man Utd supporters faces when every time their team gets a throw in the coverage slips off for a commercial about an energy drink? No.

People in the UK generally seem to dislike watching sports on commercially driven channels like ITV because there are “too many adverts” before kick off and during every short break in play, so we’re hardly going to adopt an event like the Super Bowl where seemingly 50% of the whole show is based around advertising and sponsorship.

The BBC had exclusivity on the Super Bowl in the UK and guess what… they showed it with no adverts. At all. Instead whenever there was a break in play, rather than allowing viewers to be flogged Twinkies, they sat and talked about what had just happened in the game and analysed the play. Ok, so maybe that’s because it’s being shown on a non advertising channel, but the fact that the BBC had the rights at all suggests that in the UK, it’s more about the sport than the marketing fluff that goes with it.

Did you stay up and watch the game on the BBC? Perhaps you streamed it life from the US to get the full blown effect? Either way, you’ve probably seen the half-time show on your Facebook or Twitter feeds this morning so let us know your thoughts. Could we ever have anything similar in the UK?