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Consumers in the Mood to Celebrate Super Bowl

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The biggest game of the NFL season is fast approaching and the teams facing off, the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers, are not the only one prepping for the Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.

According to a new survey by the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association -- a division of the National Retail Federation (NRF) -- conducted by BIGinsight, more than 179.1 million people will watch the game on Sunday, Feb. 3. The expected viewership is the most in the survey's nine-year history and up from an estimated 172.5 million last year.

More importantly for retailers, the average game watcher will spend $68.54 on new televisions for viewing parties, snacks, décor and athletic apparel, up from $63.87 last year. Total Super Bowl spending is expected to reach nearly $12.3 billion.

"Gathering with friends and family for the Super Bowl is an American tradition, and this year it seems consumers are in the mood to celebrate, which is good news for retailers who typically see slower online and foot traffic during these months," said NRF Senior Vice President Bill Thorne. "As one of the biggest weekends of the year for sports fanatics, we expect to see a variety of promotions in the coming days surrounding appetizers and drinks at restaurants, football décor, athletic apparel and new TVs."

The survey found most people intend to buy food and beverages for the game: nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of those watching the game will buy wings, pizza, chips, soda and more for themselves and/or their guests. Additionally, 3.9 million households will buy new furniture items, such as entertainment centers, chairs and couches, and 7.5 million will buy decorations. Given the popularity of the teams this year, 17 million fans will buy team apparel or accessories to support their team, up from 14.8 million last year, according to the survey.

As for viewing get-togethers, the survey found 39.4 million people (16.6 percent) will throw a party, and another 59.9 million (25.2 percent) will attend a party. More than 10.1 million (4.3 percent) people will watch the game at a restaurant or a bar.

"With planned viewership rising this year, it appears that an increasing number of people are finding Super Bowl Sunday the perfect excuse to get together, show off that new TV, try a new recipe, or simply shake off the winter blues for a night," said BIGinsight Consumer Insights Director Pam Goodfellow. "Ever wary of their budgets, consumers will be on the lookout for those hard-to-beat deals on TVs, food, and other Super Bowl-related items that they've come to expect from retailers as they plan their gatherings this year."

And what's a Super Bowl party without chicken wings? According to the National Chicken Council's 2013 Wing Report, more than 1.23 billion wing portions will be consumed during Super Bowl weekend in 2013. To put that into perspective, if 1.23 billion wing segments were laid end to end, they would stretch from Candlestick Park in San Francisco to M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore -- 27 times. Super Bowl weekend is unquestionably the biggest time of the year for wings.

Super Bowl wing consumption is down about one percent, or 12.3 million wings, compared to last year's numbers, but not because demand for them is declining. Quite the opposite, explains Bill Roenigk, chief economist and market analyst at the Washington, D.C.-based National Chicken Council.

"Chicken companies produced about one percent fewer birds last year, due in large part to record high corn and feed prices," Roenigk said. "Corn makes up more than two-thirds of chicken feed and corn prices hit an all-time high in 2012, due to two reasons: last summer's drought and pressure from a federal government requirement that mandates 40 percent of our corn crop be turned into fuel in the form of ethanol. Simply put, less corn equals higher feed costs, which means fewer birds produced."


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