As the Super Bowl kicks off Sunday night, we know what some fans are thinking: Since many already consider game day as sacred as a national holiday, why not play just the game on a Saturday night? Sounds smart, right? Turns out, there are some facts to back that up.
After all, moving the game to Saturday could potentially drive up TV ratings, make it easier for people to go to Super Bowl parties, and, the biggest perk of all, let fans stay up later and down some beers without worrying about the alarm clock the next day.
A 2008 survey found 1.5 million people were expected to call in sick the Monday after the game. Another prominent study said the day after the game is a “productivity killer for employers,” with companies losing almost $300 million in wages for every 10 minutes workers spend talking about the game or watching highlights. (Not that you know any fans who do that, right?)
Recently, Kraft Heinz took a step toward making fans’ dreams come true, giving its workers a day off Monday and calling for the entire country to do the same. The company’s online petition had more than 50,000 signatures.
Fans have taken to Facebook in recent years, hoping move the game, and some have tried to do the same on change.org. Others have gone as far as to push for moving Presidents Day to the day after the Super Bowl.
With all this support, you’d think the NFL would have made the move by now.
Well, it’s not quite that simple.
In 2011, league spokesman Brian McCarthy told SI.com, “We hear this each year,” before adding that “fans expect to see the Super Bowl on a Sunday,” when a vast majority of the league’s games are played.
Fair enough, though when it comes to big business — and make no mistake, the Super Bowl is — money talks, and that’s where the idea of a Saturday Super Bowl hits a rocky road.
Moving the game a day earlier likely would take a big bite from the money spent in host cities every year, from shorter hotel stays to less money spent on meals and entertainment, including a long list of flashy pre-game parties and events. After all, if you are shelling out hundreds of bucks (or more) to head to the game, who wants to stick around the day after?
So what, you say? It’s all about watching the game on TV, right?
Maybe so, though prime-time TV ratings on Saturday night have long lagged behind those on Sunday night, two experts told SI.com. And even though ratings for NFL games this season are down, the Los Angeles Times reported that more than 100 million viewers are expected to watch Sunday’s game, even though it will likely end at about 10 p.m. EST.
For the average fan who won’t see a penny from any of this, wouldn’t a 10 p.m. finish on a Saturday night feel a lot better than knowing you have to punch in or call in “sick” the next morning?