Super Bowl LVII is the Pinnacle of Live Event Viewing

You might not have known the triumphs and defeats, the epic highs and lows of professional football, but there is no escaping the media storm that comes during and after the Super Bowl. More than the game itself, the Super Bowl’s advertisements and grandiose performances are just as popular as the game. The 52nd installation Feb. 12, was no exception. 

While the halftime show is the largest Super Bowl performance, the pre-game shows also had a star-studded line-up. Chris Stapleton performed a soulful rendition of the National Anthem, his rough voice and smooth guitar bringing people on the field to tears. BabyFace, and his American-flag painted acoustic guitar, graced viewers with a soft “America the Beautiful.” Emmy-award winning actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, best known for her role on “Abbott Elementary,” sang a chill-inducing version of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” with the full force of a choir backing up her rich vocals. 

Between the performances at the beginning of the game and the highly anticipated halftime show, the commercials are what kept viewers—especially those who aren’t into the sport itself—entertained. Raul Lopez, a fourth-year communication and media major, is not interested in watching Super Bowl gameplay. 

“If I’m not going to watch the game, then I will definitely go out just to watch the commercials; that’s the only thing that would particularly interest me about [the Super Bowl],” Lopez said. “I think [the commercials] have been funny. It’s interesting to see how different they are from just normal commercials.”

Super Bowl advertisements spur exceptionally creative works of marketing from companies, and rightfully so, considering how expensive it is to get airtime with some organizations paying upwards of $7 million for their 30-second slot this year. 

Celebrities like Adam Driver, John Travolta, Alicia Silverstone and Serena Williams were among the many cameos made during the commercial breaks. Katie Quinn, an assistant professor in the department of marketing, thinks that part of the reason commercials during the Super Bowl are still so desirable is because of the live aspect of the event. 

“People are bombarded by thousands of advertisements every day, and since we’re being pulled in every direction every few minutes or every few seconds, there aren’t that many events where eyes are all locked onto one screen at one time,” Quinn said. 

One of the most talked about ads this year was Tubi’s, which tricked thousands of viewers into thinking they had sat on the remote. Camila Pinzon, a second-year professional MBA student, fell for the sneaky advertisement. 

“My fiancé and I totally fell for it! It was hilarious. When it happened, I asked my fiancé ‘what happened?’ He attempted to reach our remote control, and suddenly [we] both realized it was an ad. I cracked up,” Pinzon said. 

While the ads serve as a way to keep eyes on the screen throughout the entirety of the Super Bowl, the main event is definitely the halftime show. This year’s halftime performance was put on by Rihanna, her first live performance in seven years. Ava Thornton, third-year social work major and lifetime Rihanna fan, liked that she performed all of her club hits. 

“She sounded good. Her dances were good. Her performers were good. It was cohesive. Can’t say that for every other performance,” Thornton said. “It’s Rihanna. I was just excited to watch her.”

Decked out in a head-to-toe blood red, puffy tracksuit, Rihanna entered the performance from the heavens on a series of floating platforms. Her background dancers, many of whom are members of the nationally recognized dance crew Royal Family, wore just as floofy white jumpsuits. The dancers did the heavy lifting of the physical performance for Rihanna who, after this performance, confirmed that she was pregnant, making her the first confirmed pregnant person to perform the Super Bowl halftime show.  

Beginning the show with “Bitch Better Have My Money” and ending with “Diamonds,” Rihanna got some of her most popular songs, ranging from the beginning of her career to now, into the set list. 

The conversation around the influence Super Bowl ads and performances have on the social zeitgeist is continually analyzed. The Albers School of Business hosts the Tech Bowl, an event featuring a panel of Seattle U Marketing professors who will discuss the advertisements done by technology companies and released during the Super Bowl, Feb. 16 at 5:30 p.m. Quinn is a staff panel member for the event. 

Victor Evans, an assistant professor in the communication and media department, thinks that sports events uniquely bring viewers together, especially since the rise in streaming services. 

“The Super Bowl is the one thing we all watch together at the same time, so we have this conversation that we can have about media, about commercials, about all of those things in real time. I can’t think of anything else where we can have that conversation,” Evans said. 

Super Bowl LVII was eagerly awaited and Rihanna’s re-entrance into live music, the performances that headed the gameplay and all of the advertisements in-between lived up to the expectations for the finale of football season.


For more coverage on Super Bowl LVII, read “Super Bowl LVII: Another Comeback for MVP Patrick Mahomes.”