Greeson: Super Sunday has super numbers, super interest from gambling - legal and not

Jay Greeson

Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday - a day unto itself like few others on our calendar.

We consume food and drink like there will be no post-Super Bowl Monday.

photo Jay Greeson

The numbers will make your head hurt and chickens run for safety. Projections call for 1.38 billion chicken wings to be eaten on Sunday alone, and the percentages of other party favorites are through the Super roof. There is 90 percent more beer guzzled on Super Sunday than an average day, 67 percent more pizza eaten on this Sunday than a normal day. Almost 15,000 tons of chips will be crunched.

The fans spend like crazy too. Each fan spends, on average, more than $300 per day during a Super Bowl trip. The cheapest ticket available is $3,300, and the average ticket for sale right now is north of $7,100, which is slightly less than last year's average ticket price. The average cost of a hotel room in Atlanta this weekend is $270, which is roughly 200 percent more than normal rates.

We get together almost as much as we do during the holidays. A quarter of the country, according to survey figures, plans on attending a Super Bowl shindig, and more than 52 percent believe Monday should be a national holiday. Ten percent of Americans call in "sick" on Monday anyway.

We watch more than any other time during the year. Among non-breaking news events in TV history, of the top 10 broadcasts with the most viewers, nine of them are Super Bowls. Of the 11 events to have 100 million or more viewers, 10 were Super Bowls. Of the top 20 all-time viewed TV broadcasts, 17 were Super Bowls.

Those numbers go up every year, making you wonder: how does this day and this game keep getting bigger?

Well, here's how. Legalized sports gambling.

Legalized sports gambling will be a growing part of this ever-growing unofficial holiday.

The numbers show, at least in terms of making a legalized wager on more than 400 different game-related offerings, that folks appear open to the idea. And, in the places that sports betting has been legalized, people are clearly taking advantage of the opportunity.

According to multiple surveys from the American Gaming Association, projections are for $6 billion to be wagered on Sunday's game. That's an increase right at 25 percent from $4.8 billion in 2018.

By comparison, legalized betting on the Super Bowl is projected at $320 million. Yes, a little more than five percent of the total bet.

However, that number would be double from 2018's Super Bowl legal bets, which screams a dramatic increase in interest with the increase of states that offer legalized sports wagers.

In those surveys, a little more than 10 percent of Americans - or roughly 22.7 million adults - said they plan on betting on the Super Bowl. Other guesstimates have almost a third of Americans placing some sort of money on some aspect of the Super Bowl.

Not surprisingly, another 30 percent said they would bet on the Super Bowl if it were legal in their state.

Those numbers should catch the eye of every legislator, especially in the state of Tennessee.

Those numbers tell us, that a) people are going to bet on sports, especially the Super Bowl, and b) people are willing to do it more frequently through legal channels when offered and c) are intrigued by the possibility of having that option.

The result for the eight states that have legalized sports betting? Their cut of the projected $320 million placed on the Rams or the Patriots or whether Gladys Knight sings the national anthem in less than 107 seconds or whether a Doritos or a Pringles commercial airs first.

And that cut for those states will, like everything else, keep growing.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6343.