What makes the Super Bowl so super? Seattle Seahawks' Russell Okung smiles during media day for NFL Super Bowl XLIX (AP photo / Reuters)
What makes the Super Bowl so super?

The Super Bowl determines the NFL championship. But it has become so much more.

The first Super Bowl game was played in 1967.

Super Bowl Sunday has become an unofficial holiday in the United States. Families and friends gather to watch the game. They enjoy the fresh, new commercials and musical acts at halftime.

This year's game is scheduled Sunday. It will be played between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots.

Here are some reasons why the Super Bowl is so special.

Baseball is known as America's pastime. But football is woven into the country's fabric.

The NFL season has far fewer games than the other major North American sports, 16 compared to 162 in baseball. That makes every NFL game an event.

Once the season gets to the Super Bowl, many of the fans don't get a chance to go. Tickets started around $800 for this year's game. Most are snapped up by corporations.

Cities bid for the right to host the Super Bowl. The location is rotated every year. The game is usually played in a warm-weather city or one with a domed stadium.

Last year's game was played in the stadium the New York Jets and Giants share in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It was the first outdoor game in a cold-weather city. Future games will be in San Francisco, Houston and Minneapolis.

Sunday's game will be at Arizona's University of Phoenix Stadium. It has a retractable roof. And it even has a field that is wheeled outside so the grass can get sunlight.

The Super Bowl is one of the most-watched events in the world. It routinely draws more than 80 million viewers. The game has eclipsed 100 million viewers each of the past five years. A record 111.5 million watched Seattle roll over Denver a year ago.

Millions more watch the game around the world.

Super Bowl commercials have become a part of the show. They lure viewers who might not otherwise watch.

The rate for this year's game is $4.5 million for a 30-second spot.

This year's halftime show will feature Katie Perry and rock guitarist Lenny Kravitz. Other halftime Super Bowl performers have included Bruce Springsteen, The Who, Prince, Madonna and Bruno Mars with the Red Hot Chili Peppers last year.

Critical thinking challenge: Why are companies willing to spend so much money for Super Bowl ads?

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  • 20ethan18
    1/30/2015 - 10:01 a.m.

    Companies are willing to spend so much money for Super Bowl ads because a lot of people typically watch the Super Bowl and if a lot of people are watching the Super Bowl then a lot of people will see the ads and might want to buy what ever the ad is about.

  • kenzies15
    1/30/2015 - 10:08 a.m.

    Companies are willing to spend so much money for Super Bowl ads because its broadcast throughout the world so they can attract more people by putting there commercial out there. By doing this they could get more people into there store/business. This gives them a better percentage of selling more items/materials.

  • kims18
    1/30/2015 - 10:10 a.m.

    Companies are willing to pay so much because a lot of people, like a lot of people, watch the super bowl. People who don't like football watch it because of the half-time commercials. All of that advertising and all the people watching will boost sales.

  • DakotaD99
    1/30/2015 - 10:13 a.m.

    The reason companies pay so much to get their Super Bowl add is because so many people watch the Super Bowl that it will increase their business. People will be like hey I want that and boom, money starts rolling in for that company.

  • estephany2018
    1/30/2015 - 02:18 p.m.

    I think companies are willing to spend so much money because a lot of people watch the super bowl which means they will watch the commercials too.

  • ConnortheNon-Capitalist
    1/30/2015 - 02:21 p.m.

    Companies are willing to spend so much money for Super Bowl ads because the Super Bowl is watched by millions of people all over america. It is very likely that anyone who has an ad during the Super Bowl will get their money back, or even more money, from people buying their products.

  • Katelynn_3813
    1/30/2015 - 02:22 p.m.

    They are willing to spend so much money on them because so many people watch the super bowl so a lot of people will see their advertisement for their product and it could attract more buyers.

  • Makenna_fob
    1/30/2015 - 02:24 p.m.

    They are willing to spend so much because almost everyone watches the Super Bowl. This is when advertisers can put there product up and know that millions of Americans are diffidently watching.

  • ilovesydney
    1/30/2015 - 02:26 p.m.

    Companies are more than willing to spend what they do on Super Bowl ads because they know how many people will see them. An amazingly large amount of people watch the game every year, and sometimes will enjoy the commercials as much as the game itself. Super Bowl commercials have become a trademark, and good or bad, companies know that their ad will be seen.

  • morgan31
    1/30/2015 - 02:32 p.m.

    Businesses spend lots of money on putting their commercial in the super bowl because so many people gather to watch the super bowl that they know lots of people around the world will see there commercial on television and get more outcome for their bussiness.

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