Super Bowl LVIII: The eyewatering money behind the big game


Super Bowl LVIII between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers has arrived. From Taylor Swift, to the biggest bets to the eyewatering ad costs – here’s what you need to know ahead of the big game.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 11: Travis Kelce #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs kisses Taylor Swift after defeating the San Francisco 49ers 2 during Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium on February 11, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The teams faced off for the championship four years ago, and the 49ers will be seeking revenge—and their first title in 29 years. The Chiefs, meanwhile, have reached this point for the fourth time in five years and are seeking their third Vince Lombardi Trophy in that span—which would make them an almost peerless dynasty.

The Matchup

The game pits the $6 billion 49ers against the $4.3 billion Chiefs. In the owners’ box, Kansas City has the financial advantage, with the Hunts ranking among America’s richest families.

Both ownership groups, though, featured on our recent list of the world’s most valuable sports empires.

Sin City? More like Win City. Hosting the Super Bowl is just the latest victory in Las Vegas’ unlikely rise from sports betting capital to sports capital period. One former mayor has been saying the game is the biggest event in the city’s history.

This is the first Super Bowl powered by renewable energy, and the NFL says it is taking sustainability seriously.

The 49ers' Brock Purdy after throwing for a touchdown against the Cowboys in October.

San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy has become a favourite target of card collectors.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Teams

The vaunted Chiefs offense scuffled for much of the regular season but came alive in the playoffs by using more three-tight-end formations. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who shares a unique bond with Super Bowl announcer Tony Romo, rightfully gets the headlines, but Kansas City’s run defense could determine the game’s outcome. One thing the Chiefs have going for them: They have never lost at Allegiant Stadium.

One former 49ers quarterback believes in Brock Purdy, as do collectors, who have been snapping up his cards. Purdy’s teammate Charvarius Ward spent four seasons with the Chiefs—“they just didn’t have enough money to compensate me,” he says now.

The Spectacle

In addition to the flashy activations and commercials, brands have spent millions on Super Bowl marketing that fans will never see. In a different kind of marketing effort, MattelMAT has brought back Super Bowl-themed Barbies, and five alcohol brands have put on creative and interactive engagements.

As is custom in the NFL, Usher won’t be paid for the halftime show—but there are other benefits to performing. He’s teased a few details about his set, and the game will feature performances by other artists including Reba McEntire and Post Malone.

The game will be televised live in roughly 190 countries and territories and in nearly 25 languages, with CBS deploying 165 cameras. (Here are more numbers to know about the game.) With U.S. broadcasts posting strong numbers throughout the playoffs, Sunday’s showdown could top last year’s record viewership of 115 million, thanks in part to interest being driven by sports betting and, yes, Taylor Swift. (And if you need an explanation of the conspiracy theory around the singer, well, here you go.)

The Taira family has built a $2 billion fortune baking King’s Hawaiian rolls and thinks the Super Bowl can drive future growth. Americans are expected to spend $17.3 billion on food, drinks, apparel, party decorations and other categories for this year’s big game, but shoppers are also becoming more cost-conscious at the supermarket. Here are a few food items that are actually cheaper than they were last year. And if you need help planning the menu for your party, check out these cocktails, stress-free snacks, and beer and food pairings—plus a drink pick from Taylor Swift.

The Ads

Thirty-second commercials reportedly cost an average of $7 million this year, but that doesn’t reflect the true cost for many brands. So is it worth it? Well … that depends. But neuroscience suggests that some 90-second ads are a waste. (One survey offers insights for marketers.)

Some of Hollywood’s biggest stars—and possibly Beyoncé—will appear in the ads. In fact, more than half of the spots will feature celebrities. Iconic imagery can work, too.

A Bud Light advertisement on the Sphere in Las Vegas ahead of Super Bowl LVIII.

Some brands have placed ads on the side of the Sphere in Las Vegas and soon will have commercials run during the Super Bowl broadcast—at an average cost of $7 million for a 30-second slot.

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

So who will be advertising? Watch for commercials for beauty brands (including E.l.f.) as well as—strangely—Jesus. GoogleGOOG is making a powerful statement with a blind director while Nerds candy is banking on cross-generational appeal. AI, though, doesn’t seem like it will be a focus.

Miller Lite came up with a clever digital campaign that also has an in-stadium component. But some other ads are already falling short, and Uber Eats has incited controversy. Bud Light, meanwhile, is still trying to win back old customers.

The Bets

The American Gaming Association is projecting record betting volume on the game this year. Las Vegas is making the most of it.

Some offshore sportsbooks will let you bet on whether Taylor Swift will perform alongside Usher. Take it from the man behind some of the biggest halftime shows ever: “She’s not going to do anything beyond watch the game.”

Sportsbooks are already taking bets on who will win next year’s Super Bowl.

The Last Word

“That was my whole thing behind it: I want to create a vibe. I want to create an atmosphere. I want to get that juice going.”

Nick Kray, former 49ers chief of staff

The 49ers have entered the field the same way for every game since 2017: alongside a team staffer holding a massive, blasting boombox. Here’s how the pregame party became a ritual.

This article was first published on and all figures are in USD.

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