Tampa Bay bucks: Despite downturn, Super Bowl expected to spur billions in purchases, bets

Whether it’s buying fixings for a delicious game day spread or betting on the Las Vegas oddsmakers’ spread, tens of millions of Americans are spending money on this year’s Super Bowl, according to new reports from prominent business associations. But, with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to take its toll on the economy, outlays around this year’s game are expected to be less than in recent memory.

Nearly 187 million American adults plan to watch Sunday as the Kansas City Chiefs face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL’s championship game, according to a National Retail Federation survey.

Those people plan to spend an average of $74.55 on Super Bowl-related purchases, for a total of $13.9 billion, according to the NRF. That’s down from $88.65 per person and $17.2 billion total last year, which were both record highs.

With the game coming as the country continues to contend with the pandemic and its economic effects, the total and per-person spending projections this year are the lowest they have been since 2014.

The pandemic also appears to be altering how people will view this year’s game, with fewer respondents to the NRF survey planning to attend viewing parties or watch the game at bars and restaurants.

Betting activity around the game also appears to be subdued relative to the last couple of years, according to an American Gaming Association report.

Although wagering on athletic events is on the rise nationally as more states legalize sports gambling, Super Bowl betting this year is projected to decline, according to the AGA. Some 23.2 million Americans are expected to make bets on the game, down about 11% from last year’s 26 million projected bettors. The total amount wagered is expected to see a sharper decline, down about 37% to $4.3 billion.

Though fewer Americans may be betting on the spread of Sunday’s game, that other spread — the food — will not be overlooked. The most popular Super Bowl expenditure, by far, among those surveyed by NRF was food and beverage, which 77% of respondents said they planned to buy.

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