Superbowl XLV-More Data Overload?


Have we gone overboard with game-day statistics?


Perhaps. But as a “numbers and metrics” guy, I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer my humble contribution to tomorrow’s big game, and the plethora of little factoids that always emerge as game time approaches.

Here are a few statistics that I dug up, along with some conclusions I am inferring from that data. Full disclosure though: I wont be putting any money on these conclusions, as we all go a little “data happy” this time of year. But hey, at least it makes for good game-day conversation, right?

So with that, I’ll go ahead and add  to the already burgeoning wealth of useless facts to spice up your Superbowl Sunday…

I. The game-day experience (Eat, drink, and play ball…)

  • 14,500 tons of chips will be served by those at, or viewing the game
  • Over 8 Million pounds of guacamole will be consumed
  • The average number of people at Superbowl parties will be 17
  • 5% of viewers will watch the game alone
  • Superbowl Sunday is expected to continue its trend of being the biggest winter “grilling” day of the year (Residents in the Northeast must not be included in the sample group)


I need to make adjustments to my New Year’s weight loss resolution before I get disappointed. Then again…I won’t be grilling (too damned cold!!)


II. Wagering on the game…

  • Odds of Fergie showing up dressed as a Cowboy’s cheerleader (5:1)
  • Odds of a punt hitting the stadium screen or scoreboard (10:1)
  • Odds of a Steelers player imitating Aaron Rodgers “belt celebration: (1:35)
  • Largest Lead of the game (Over/Under 13.50)
  • # times the word “lockout” will be mentioned by announcers during the game (Over/Under 1.5)


Are you kidding me? Save your money.


III. Spectators and viewers…

  • The average cost of a ticket will exceed $5000 USD per person
  • The cost of a 50 yard line premium seat now stands at $15,946
  • 35% of ticket holders will “write off” the game as a Corporate Business Expense
  • An average of $59.33 per person will be spent on game related merchandise
  • There will be more alcohol related accidents than any other day of the year
  • 6% will call in sick the day after the game (I guess this means 94% wont be THAT drunk)


Again, save your money! Drink more. Don’t drive.


IV. Predicting the winners and losers…

  • Packers have scored 12 Touchdowns in the NFC playoffs, 4 more than any other playoff team (skewed by the Falcons playoff collapse?)
  • Packers averaged 369 yards per game (double that of the Steelers)
  • Packers lead the series 18-14 in head to head competition
  • Steelers have won 6 Superbowls to the Packers 3
  • Packers scored more defensive touchdowns than any other team in the playoffs


Inconclusive, but I’m sticking with the Packers.


V. The Commercials (Why we all really watch the game…)

  • Budweiser has spent $235 Million as the Superbowl’s premier sponsor over the last 10 years
  • 26% of viewers view Commercial’s as more important than the game itself
  • 75% are “entertained” more than “influenced” by the commercials
  • Average “sales uplift” in the month following the Superbowl is +11% (sales increase averages 250 times the ad spend)
  • Fox will bring in more than $200 Million in direct advertising revenue


The 11% is reported by the CFO’s who approve the ads. I’m still skeptical.


There you have it. There’s plenty more where those came from. I welcome you to add to the list in case you have some little factoids that might change my conclusions, or simply want to add to this year’s  Superbowl data fest.

Of course, as the game approaches, we’ll see more and more ridiculous stats emerge- and perhaps even more so, when the announcers and statisticians take over between 6PM and Midnight tomorrow. No doubt, the data cubes will be in full swing, slicing and dicing every stat from the completion rate of Aaron Rodgers on artificial turf manufactured in Texas, to the the number of field goals that are missed in the opposing teams end zone by kickers with two or more siblings. Hell, we’re already placing bets on how many times the Fox announcers will mention the proverbial “lockout”.

Seriously though, while this is always a fun exercise, reflecting on this reminds me of a trap we can all get in from time to time. All of us know the brutal reality inside our companies …That we sometimes get so caught up in the data that we seem to lose the “bigger picture”. Simple facts that are “interesting”, and “convenient” to ground our internal hunches and beliefs, can also distract us and make us lazy to go after the real answers that are waiting there if we have the patience to process them a little  further.

That notwithstanding, I hope this post adds to your game-day enjoyment and I wish your team (or commercial) the best of luck tomorrow (as long as your team is not the Steelers!).

I hope the Saints are back next year!


Author: Bob Champagne is Managing Partner of onVector Consulting Group, a privately held international management consulting organization specializing in the design and deployment of Performance Management tools, systems, and solutions. Bob has over 25 years of Performance Management experience and has consulted with hundreds of companies across numerous industries and geographies. Bob can be contacted at


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