What Will Super Bowl Sunday Cost You This Year?
Football fans may be suprised to learn that compared to five years ago, most expenses have gone down. Beer excluded.
One way to measure prices and inflation, or lack thereof, on a year-to-year basis is by examining the cost of annual rituals -- including that most all-American of traditions, the Super Bowl party. As economic indicators go, the big game day may not be the most scientific of yardsticks, but it's one that's close to most citizens' hearts.
Football fans will be happy to hear that in many ways, the results of our (albeit casual) survey of the cost of throwing a Super Bowl Sunday bash now vs. 2007 indicate that the annual beer-soaked, hot sauce-stained gatherings may actually be getting cheaper. Thank offshore labor? Better technology? You tell us.
First and foremost, you need a respectable television set (read: HDTV and big). Without one, you might as well forfeit the party. One route to take is that of the standard sitcom premise, where you buy the bells-and-whistles big-screen model only to return it on Monday. But if you're already in the market for a new set, there are some deals on HDTVs to be had.
Walmart's (WMT) Super Bowl sale unfortunately applies only to middling TV brands like Sceptre, RCA, and Westinghouse. Thankfully, a lesser-known but highly rated and Google-certified retailer called BuySquad can set you up with one of the best sets out there for less than anywhere else online at $1,055.
Rated excellent by CNET editors, the Panasonic (PC) 1080p TC-PGT30 50-inch HDTV is a "superb TV overall that sets the bar high..." and "...belongs on the short list for buyers who want the advantages of plasma in a thin form factor but don't want to pay the premium for a flagship TV." In addition, the plasma format is perfect for a Super Bowl party because, unlike LCD, it offers uniform picture quality so everyone in the room will see the same picture.
As anyone into home TV has noticed, the price of fancy flat-screen TVs just keeps dropping, so this is one area where your Super Bowl party gets cheaper. If you wanted a high-end HDTV back in 2007, a comparable 50-inch Panasonic HDTV could be yours for a whopping $1,999.95.
Now: $65 per month
Then: $48 per month
Without cable service, that fabulous new HDTV is just a 50-inch plastic box -- unless you've gathered your football fan friends over just to watch your Remember the Titans DVD.
One of the most coveted HD cable services around is Verizon's (VZ) FiOS TV, which will complement that souped-up HDTV set with its rich 1080p signal. The FiOS TV Football Widget also offers on-screen news and scores for every other given Sunday.
If you wanted FiOS service five years ago, you could have it for the lower price of $47.99 per month.
Of course, since the Super Bowl is broadcast on NBC, an HDTV antenna would also suffice. We recommend the Terk Technologies HDTVo Amplified Directional HDTV Antenna, available at B&H for $76.39. Five years ago HD rabbit ears cost anywhere from $20 to $150.
Now: $16 per month
Then: $20 per month
What precedes Monday morning quarterbacking? Sunday armchair refereeing, naturally. To be any good at your self-appointed job, you'll need a DVR to record, pause, and rewind the game, which will allow you to make the right call. For that, Verizon will charge you $15.99 per month, a drop in costs since 2007, when DVR-ing was more common and the monthly fee was $19.95.
Now: $16 (24 case)
Then: $14 (24 case)
Name something every host serves at his Super Bowl party. Survey says: Beer!
Topping the list of essentials at any game day party outside the local Alcohol Anonymous get-together are those requisite cold ones. For nearly the last quarter of a century, Anheuser-Busch (BUD) has clinched the title as the Super Bowl's exclusive beer advertiser, and its flagship brands, Budwesier and Bud Light, are always game-day mainstays. A good host gets the extra point for offering both -- not only as an option for the beer belly-conscious, but also to allow for an in-house Bud Bowl during halftime (tiny helmets not included).
While prices vary nationwide, a case of 24 12-ounce bottles will run you roughly $16. Five years ago, a case of beer would set you back approximately $14. The difference may feel insignificant, depending on how many cases you're buying.
Now: $10 (large pie)
Then: $10 (large pie)
When you need to feed a lot of people -- especially football fans, you can't go wrong with cheap, no-utensils-needed pizza.
Papa John's (PZZA) may be the official pizza sponsor of Super Bowl XLVI, but so far, Pizza Hut is offering the better deal. Not yet announced game specials aside, Pizza Hut (YUM) has been running an ongoing any-type, any-size, any-toppings pizza for $10 promotion. That's a buck cheaper than the plain large pie special at Papa John's, although $10 more dough if you happen to win the Papa John's sweepstakes, which is giving away a large one-topping pizza to online customers every 46 seconds.
Given that the Super Bowl is among the top five busiest days of the year for pizza restaurants, don't wait until kickoff to place your order. Make the safe bet and order early -- even a day or two ahead of time.
Making the same dinner plans in 2007 would also cost $10, and back then, you'd have "More to love."
Now: $27.99 per 44-piece order
Then: $7.49 for 10
Finger food item No. 1 on your Super Bowl checklist is chicken wings. In fact, the National Chicken Council reports that Americans are expected to eat 1.25 billion chicken wings the weekend of the big game. You'll obviously want to go with whichever restaurant you're ordering your pizza from; as such, we've given you the price for the little nuggets from Pizza Hut.
In case you haven't ordered wings in a while, you may be surprised (and maybe a little horrified) to find that they now come not only bone-out and crispy, but in flavors like lemon pepper and garlic Parmesan. But worry not. If you long for a time when men were men and wings were hot, Pizza Hut still has you covered. At least in terms of chicken.
Five years ago, you would be spending $7.49 for 10 wings, so you're getting a bonus four or so wings with this deal.
Though far from a necessity for a Super Bowl party, sporting the jersey of the team you're rooting for does kick the merriment up a notch and may even invite a spirit of competition, particularly if you're the host. Relax, we're not asking you to send out party invitations or cover the coffee table in a Super Bowl XLVI logo table cloth. A little extra effort is all we're suggesting. Think of it as "going for two."
The cost of a Reebok replica jersey from the official online NFL shop is the same, regardless of team. A New England Patriots Rob Gronkowski jersey and New York Giants Victor Cruz jersey, for example, are both priced at about $85.
Back in 2007, supporting your team with an official NFL Jersey would cost you $99.99.
--With research from Michael Erb
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