Group of friends watching TV on the couch.

The Business Lessons Found in the Super Bowl Phenomenon

“Maybe the most successful business in the history of the United States” is how sports agent Drew Rosenhaus recently characterized the National Football League.

Granted, sports agents traffic in hyperbole for a living, but Rosenhaus has a point: The NFL accounted for 82 of the 100 most-watched U.S. TV broadcasts in 2022, according to Nielsen ratings data. And the league’s flagship game, the Super Bowl, is a cultural phenomenon, drawing an audience of around 100 million viewers each year.

So, as we head into Sunday’s big game, what business lessons can be learned from the NFL’s massive success?

Create an Experience for your Customer

The Super Bowl is a perfect example of the importance of creating not just a product (which is the actual football game) but also creating and promoting a whole experience around the product (which is the social and “event” aspect of the game).

The Super Bowl halftime show is typically the highest-rated hour of the game. Pizza places encourage people to place orders early. Commercials, parties, squares… the number of things during the game that are not about football is astounding. Consumers spend literally billions and billions of dollars each year on items associated with the Super Bowl, according to the National Retail Federation.

And, yet, many viewers won’t even know which two teams are playing Sunday, much less care about who wins.

So, think beyond the goods and services your company provides. Draw interest and repeat interest by creating an experience. Your customers may not buy from you on that first trip, but they will remember the experience, and they will come back.


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More Than Meets The Eye

Like Super Bowl viewers, diners at your restaurants know it’s not all about food. The power of experience can make up for the food not being 10/10 in terms of taste. Was the waiter punctual or humorous? Was the atmosphere inviting or intimate? Perhaps a free dessert was offered for a birthday?

Or take the gift-wrapping scene from the movie “Love Actually.” That experience may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it certainly leaves a lasting impression.

“The NFL is a golden goose that keeps laying golden eggs,” Rosenhaus says, “and it’s been that way for as long as I can remember.”

The NFL has been in business for 102 years. The Super Bowl has been in existence for 57 of those years. The game is so much more than the football, a key to why the NFL and Super Bowl thrive.

Does your business provide more than meets the eye?

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