In 2016, the Super Bowl, the climactic spectacle of American professional football, celebrated its 50th anniversary. The Super Bowl stands as the broadest ‘shared experience’ in American culture. As television ratings, cultural practices, and scholarly tomes reveal, more people participate in watching the Super Bowl than in any other common endeavour in the United States. The Super Bowl has become a new national holiday dedicated to the celebration of consumption—the driving force underneath modern culture.

Beyond the borders of the United States, the Super Bowl does not rank as highly as a global phenomenon, though it increasingly draws larger audiences in a few nations around the globe. Some watch as curious students of American habits, others seem to be developing affinity for American-style football. The global dynamics of the consumption of football reveal much about the dynamics of American ‘soft power’ and cultural influence in the new globalized social networks that are emerging as consumption increasingly powers not only the United States but also the world economy.

A Half Century of Super Bowls: National and Global Perspectives on America’s Grandest Spectacle analyzes the Super Bowl in shaping American and global communities and identities. It was originally published as a special issue of the International Journal of the History of Sport.

chapter |6 pages


Super Bowl Sunday: A National Holiday and a Global Curiosity

chapter |16 pages

The Super Bowl at 50 or L