By Barry Janoff
February 2, 2015: In 2006, the University of Phoenix paid about $154.5 million for a 20-year naming rights deal to the stadium that is home to the NFL's Arizona Cardinals.
Since then, the Glendale, Az.-based venue has hosted the Super Bowl twice: In 2008 for Super Bowl XLII; and Feb. 1, when Super Bowl XLIX was played there.
The online-based for-profit institution got paid back big time when Super Bowl XLIV made the stadium the center of the sports world.
Thanks to what NBC said was the highest-rated Super Bowl at 45.7 and most-watched TV show ever with 114.5 million viewers, the University of Phoenix earned more than $57.7 million in game-day media value, according to Front Row Analytics, the sponsorship analysis division of Front Row Marketing, a unit of Comcast-Spectator.
The value is based on the $4.5 million that NBC charged for 30-second Super Bowl spots, according to Front Row Analytics, via exposure given to the University of Phoenix Stadium via signage, on-air mentions and graphics and other activations before, during and after the game.
The estimated media value topped the previous high of $37.6 million that Front Row Analytics said Raymond James Stadium in Tampa received from hosting Super Bowl XLIII in 2009.
It also was nearly double that of the media value estimated by Front Row Analytics for MetLife Stadium last year during Super Bowl XLVIII ($32.4 million), the Mercedes-Benz SuperDome during Super Bowl XLVII in 2013 ($30 million) and Lucas Oil Stadium during Super Bowl XLVI in 2012 ($33 million).
"The value was higher than past Super Bowl for a variety of reasons, which included the increase of the advertising equivalency $4.5 million ($500,00 more than 2014)," said Eric Smallwood, svp for Front Row Marketing.
According to Smallwood, the University of Phoenix Stadium has "superb signage exposure with key site lines for clear visibility for brand signage captured by the television cameras."
In addition, with the game starting at 4:30PM Phoenix time, exterior camera shots and multiple signage placements on the exterior of the stadium provided the brand with additional pick-ups that were not hindered by darkness, according to Smallwood. Concurrently, with the roof of the stadium open, interior signage was provide with unique lighting.
Of the other two Super Bowls dating back to 2009, when Front Row Analytics began keeping tabs, Sun Life Stadium in South Florida garnered $26 million in media value for hosting Super Bowl XLIV in 2010; and Cowboys Stadium lost upward of $40 million in media value as it did not as yet have a naming rights partner, with AT&T signing its deal in 2013.
The $57.7 million in medial value did not take into account millions more earned from the University of Phoenix Stadium hosting the Pro Bowl the week before, seen on ESPN.
Among other national outlets to cover everything but the game itself from gavel to gavel, ESPN said its coverage of Super Bowl XLIX included 346 hours of NFL programming during Super Bowl week across its networks. During that time, U.S. households "spent more than seven billion minutes viewing the coverage surrounding Super Bowl XLIX."
From the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 25 to NFL PrimeTime after the New England Patriots' 28-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks — anchored by numerous daily studio shows in between — viewers watched 7,167,864,300 minutes of NFL programming, which correlates to 13,628 years of TV airtime, according to ESPN.
Super Bowl 50 will be played in Levi's Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers, for which the jeans and clothing company in 2013 paid an estimated $220 million for 20-year naming rights beginning when the stadium opened for the 2014 NFL season.
Due to the historic nature of next year's Big Game, and with broadcast network CBS charging upward of $5 million for a 30-second spot, according to industry analysts, media value for Levi's could set another new Super Bowl record.
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