For some businesses in Haslett, the Super Bowl is not as lucrative as it once was.
Super Bowl viewership was slightly down this year, but still enormous. Ratings released by Nielsen put the average audience of the National Football League’s flagship event at 111.3 million. Last year’s Super Bowl drew 111.9 million.
To give some context, the 2016 World Series game 7 drew the best ratings of any baseball game since 1991 – with 40 million viewers. The 2016 NBA Finals game 7 also posted a record number – the league’s best in 18 years – drawing 30.8 million viewers.
The game featured the first-ever Super Bowl overtime, with the New England Patriots scoring 31 unanswered points to beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28. Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady won his record fifth championship.
It seems like a perfect formula for local bars and restaurants to cash in.
“It’s not anything like it used to be,” said Mayfair Bar owner Bret Story. “15 years ago or so, we used to be jam-packed. It’s still a good Sunday night, but not at all what it used to be.”
Story said that in recent years, more people decide to stay home and watch rather than come out to the bar.
He went on to say that the event still helped to draw twice the crowd of a regular Sunday night, and that he was “thrilled” by the turnout.
The Blue Gill Grill is located right next to Mayfair Bar. Owner Denise Warner laments the NFL’s scheduling choices. She said Super Bowl crowds at her business are smaller due to the game’s timeslot.
“It is horribly affected being a Sunday night. People have Super Bowl parties in the afternoon or the evening. Unless they give you Monday off, there’s nothing,” Warner said. “It hasn’t been a profitable night. Why can’t they do it on Saturday? I think that’s what everybody’s saying.”
Story agrees that moving the event to Saturday would be “fantastic.” But he doesn’t believe it’s realistically going to happen.
Even for Lakeside Party Store, which would conceivably benefit from homeowners stocking up for their big-game gatherings, business was not booming on game day. Cashier Mangit Singh worked through Sunday afternoon and evening. He said business was “very slow” that afternoon, and it just became slower once the game started.
As far as moving the big game to Saturday night goes, the NFL has not spoken fondly of the idea.
“We hear this every year,” league spokesperson Brian McCarthy told SI.com in 2011. “Fans expect to see the Super Bowl on a Sunday, the day on which 89.2 percent of NFL games are played.”