In 2016, the Super Bowl, the climactic spectacle of American professional football, celebrated its 50th anniversary. The Super Bowl stands as the broadest ‘shared experience’ in American culture. As television ratings, cultural practices, and scholarly tomes reveal, more people participate in watching the Super Bowl than in any other common endeavour in the United States. The Super Bowl has become a new national holiday dedicated to the celebration of consumption—the driving force underneath modern culture.
Beyond the borders of the United States, the Super Bowl does not rank as highly as a global phenomenon, though it increasingly draws larger audiences in a few nations around the globe. Some watch as curious students of American habits, others seem to be developing affinity for American-style football. The global dynamics of the consumption of football reveal much about the dynamics of American ‘soft power’ and cultural influence in the new globalized social networks that are emerging as consumption increasingly powers not only the United States but also the world economy.
A Half Century of Super Bowls: National and Global Perspectives on America’s Grandest Spectacle analyzes the Super Bowl in shaping American and global communities and identities. It was originally published as a special issue of the International Journal of the History of Sport.
Introduction:Super Bowl Sunday: A National Holiday and a Global Curiosity
Peter Hopsicker and Mark Dyreson
1. The Super Bowl at 50 or L
2. ‘Superbowling’: Using the Super Bowl’s Yearly Commentary to Explore the Evolution of a Sporting Spectacle in the American Consciousness
Peter M. Hopsicker
3. Fifty Years of Super Bowl Commercials, Thirty-Two Years of Spectacular Consumption
Matthew P. McAllister and Elysia Galindo-Ramirez
4. ‘Super Bore’: The Canadian Media and the Grey Cup-Super Bowl Comparison
Craig G. Greenham
5. Amerika: The Super Bowl and German Imagination
6. A Century of British Readings of America through American Football: From the Fin de Siècle to the Super Bowl
7. ‘We Will Try Again, Again, Again to Make It Bigger’: Japan, American Football, and the Super Bowl in the Past, Present, and Future
8. The Super Bowl as a Television Spectacle: Global Designs, Glocal Niches, and Parochial Patterns
As Robert Hands in The Times recently observed, the growth of sports studies in recent years has been considerable. This unique series with over one hundred volumes in the last decade has played its part. Politically, culturally, emotionally and aesthetically, sport is a major force in the modern world. Its impact will grow as the world embraces ever more tightly the contemporary secular trinity: the English language, technology and sport. Sport in the Global Society will continue to record sport's phenomenal progress across the world stage.