Is the Super Bowl the World's Greatest Sporting Spectacle?

Ed Townend@@eddtownendContributor IIJanuary 29, 2011

DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 02:  The Vince Lombardi Trophy is displayed on radio row on February 2, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. The Green Bay Packers will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

With the Super Bowl only a week away, the media hype surrounding the event is going global with journalists from across the planet descending on Honolulu before making their way to Dallas.

One question often raised by non-Americans who attend the Super Bowl is to question if the Super Bowl is the greatest single sporting event in the world?

Americans will tell you that there is nothing that can rival the spectacle that is the Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl is the most watched annual sporting event in the world, mainly due to the large American audiences but increasing coverage in Europe has seen its popularity rise.

In terms of a sporting spectacle, can it be rivaled, though? The Monaco Grand Prix, the IPL Twenty 20 final, FA Cup Final and even the AFL final all lay claim to title as the greatest annual sporting event, so how does one compare each event from another?

If the greatness of a sporting event is judged by its TV audience, then the Super Bowl is in a league of its own. Last year's Saints vs. Colts game saw the largest American TV audience in history with 106 million Americans tuning in to see the ‘Who Dat Nation’ claim their first World Championship crown.

The Super Bowl is unique in that the event is more than just about the football game. The half time musical extravaganza is unrivaled and no one will ever forget the 2002 U2 performance given the events four months previously.

The world’s greatest artists await the opportunity to perform to a worldwide audience and claim a place in Super Bowl history. Music sales for the performing artist are acknowledged as rising dramatically in the days after a Super Bowl performance and the Black Eyed Peas will be hoping for just that occurrence after next Sunday's performance.

Whilst the Super Bowl is the greatest single sporting event in North America, what is the influence of this game around the rest of the world?

Across a number of European households, late-night parties will be underway as the game starts close to midnight and will go into the early hours of the morning.

The NFL’s decision to move a number of games to London and the regular weekly games live on Sky Sports have increased the exposure of the sport to a British and European audience, with rumours still circulating about the development of a London franchise!

Depending on your audience, you will get a different answer to what is the biggest sporting event. Brits will claim the greatest annual sorting event to be the FA Cup final. In Australasia, their most significant event is the State of Origin series.

Europeans will state the Champions League Final is the biggest sporting event of the year, a claim that can be supported by viewing figures.

Whilst different worldwide audiences will lay claim to their event being the greatest, one cannot deny that the Super Bowl is the finest sporting spectacle and secretly admired across the world as a template for how to hold a sports final.

Many would love to replicate what the NFL does so well but are often prevented by tradition.

Now pass the foam hand, nachos and beer! It’s going to be a late night.

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