FOR THE WEEK OF JAN. 30, 2006
Super Bowl goes way beyond football
Assign students to see how many Super Bowl articles appear beyond the sports section this week. Discuss whether a season-ending professional football game deserves attention on the front page, business section, lifestyle pages and with entertainment news. What other cultural events break customary news coverage boundaries this way?
Let class members use Super Bowl advance coverage to explore how athletes become news subjects for reasons beyond on-field performance. How does this event showcase current and former sports stars as positive, and perhaps negative, role models?
Have students look closely at game-related features with Detroit datelines this week to see what they learn about the city's appearance, economy, people, hotels, roads, restaurants, nightlife, music and other details. Do the articles increase or decrease interest in visiting? Is information presented fairly and with balance, or do visiting reporters take cheap shots and show bias?
The Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks meet Sunday in Detroit for a game you'll hear a bit about . . . this afternoon, tonight and every day this week – count on it!
Even people who don’t watch football all season will see at least part of Super Bowl XL, an all-American spectacle as extravagant as, well, an amped-up mix of rock ‘n’roll, glitzy dancers, fireworks, light shows, a capacity crowd, outrageous TV ads and possibly a memorable game.
A professor of journalism and mass communications, Dona Schwartz at the University of Minnesota, calls it “one of America’s greatest annual theater pieces.” The jacket of her 1998 book, Contesting the Super Bowl, says the game “is about many things. Maybe even football.” The highlight for some viewers will come from performances by the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and other well-known artists. Clever commercials are part of the draw for others, with the debut of big-budget ads that will be the subject of day-after viewer polls and media buzz.
For residents, businesses and officials in Detroit, welcoming its first downtown Super Bowl to a stadium that opened in 2002, the game’s impact also has nothing to do with the score. The city that has been hit by domestic auto industry setbacks and a $30-million budget deficit is proudly showcasing downtown improvements and earning a much-needed boost from 125,000 visitors and hundreds of media personnel.
Mayor says: The game is “an opportunity to present people with the next Detroit.” Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who won a second term last November, forecasts up to $300 million in economic benefits from tourism, corporate events, NFL-sanctioned charity parties, nightclub tie-ins, league spending and other sources.
Celebrity magnet: National magazines, major companies and clubs of all sorts are hosting game-related parties and VIP receptions. Guests and entertainers are scheduled to include Diddy, Busta Rhymes, Snoop Dogg, Magic Johnson, Terrell Owens. The NFL’s eighth annual Players Gala, right after the game, is hosted by Larry Johnson, running back for the Kansas City Chiefs, and Ki Toy Johnson, popular video vixen.
The real scoreboard: “The networks sell football fans to corporate advertisers, and corporations sponsor activities of the NFL to help sustain the mutually beneficial cycle of exchange.” – Dona Schwartz, University of Minnesota
Front Page Talking Points Archive