The super bowl as a television spectacle: Global designs, glocal niches, and parochial patterns

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Abstract

In the contemporary US, the Super Bowl creates the largest ‘shared experience’ in the nation. More people tune into these spectacles than attend worship services, vote in elections, or celebrate traditional holidays. Super Bowls have become such powerful elements in US national culture that television corporations and the National Football League have sought to export them to the rest of the world. Indeed, executives in the television and football industries tout potential worldwide audiences in the billions and speculate that the Super Bowl might muscle its way into the realm of the Olympics and World Cup soccer tournaments as global mega-events. In spite of corporate bluster, the Super Bowl has not become a truly international event and has not garnered widespread international passion. American pundits have speculated ceaselessly about why the Super Bowl lags behind other US cultural products in terms of global influence and fretted about how the rest of the world sees the game. Their analyses reveal more about American perceptions of the world than they do about the world’s views of the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-156
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of the History of Sport
Volume34
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 22 2017

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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