Why London is getting ready for Super Bowl LII
America's biggest sporting event is coming to town like never before for 2018
On the cultural scale of annual events it's pretty clear that, for many Americans, Thanksgiving and Christmas are entirely overshadowed by that most important of national holidays – the Super Bowl. Super Bowl Sunday is a national pastime, the culmination of the NFL's season into one day of celebrity half time shows, family meals and, of course, American Football.
Past years matches have proved the most-watched television events in the U.S. calendar, and this year is unlikely to be any different when the Philadelphia Eagles take on the New England Patriots for the cup on 4 February. A spectacle from start to finish, superstar singer Pink will sing the national anthem, while Justin Timberlake will be headlining the Pepsi Super Bowl LII Halftime Show, following the likes of Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Prince in previous years.
It's also a chance for big name brands to launch new initiatives and make political statements – such as Coca-Cola's 2014 'It's Beautiful' diversity campaign – through the sought-after advertising slots. These ads are, in most cases, instant viral hits, showcasing extended narratives, cinematic film quality and incredible fees. By 2015, the cost of a 30-second commercial had reached $4.5m.
Like American Football, the Super Bowl has largely been viewed as an American phenomenon – but now London is calling. After 2017's inaugural success, the NFL is this year expanding its London Games Tour to include three playoff teams, two hopeful risers and the Philadelphia Eagles themselves. The Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Chargers, Tenessee Titans, Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders will face off at Tottenham Hotspur’s brand new stadium and Wembley Stadium in late October. >>
Such is the growing popularity of the sport in the UK that Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is keen to build a permanent franchise of the NFL right here in the city – and, ultimately, aim for the Super Bowl itself.
“My ultimate dream is to get the Super Bowl here in London. Wouldn’t that be great?” Khan said earlier this month. “London is the international home of the NFL and I am really excited to welcome the world's best American football stars and their thousands of fans from around the globe back to our city.
Those of us who can experience the NFL On Location VIP tickets in Minneapolis' 70,000-capacity U.S. Bank Stadium, Minnesota, you can expect unrivalled access to pre-game parties with NFL legends, celebrity chefs and music stars, VIP seats as close to the action as you dare, and A-List parties after the match as well.
But if you're in London, there's an array of evening events that will let you celebrate in Super Bowl style across the capital. All that's left is to place your bets on whether the Eagle's quarterback Carson Wentz can outshine the Patriots' star Tom Brady – bring on the Super Bowl.