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Money Lessons from a Football Fan

As a financial blogger and avid football fan, I can't help but see my worlds collide. The Superbowl holds financial lessons for us all.

Articles by Betterment Editors

By the Editorial Staff
Betterment Resource Center  |  Published: February 1, 2013

I love football. I love athletic competition. I love the pageantry. I love the Super Bowl, one of the biggest spectacles in all of sports.

As a financial blogger and avid football fan, I can’t help but see my worlds collide.

I think the Super Bowl holds financial lessons for us all.

Money Follows Performance

One of the best lessons you can learn from the Super Bowl is that a solid performance can open the door to higher earnings. Teams that do well in the Super Bowl can justify raising their ticket and concession prices for the following season. Players who perform well all season – and stand out in the Superbowl – can see their value rise significantly.

Many players have clauses in their contracts that result in bonuses if they lead their teams to Super Bowl victories. Show good leadership, win an MVP award, and you could end up with a nice bonus. That’s just in the short term. There are opportunities in the long run too.

If you remember, Mario Mannningham made a great catch in the 2012 Super Bowl that may well have raised his stock when it came to negotiating pay as a free agent. He signed a two year, $7,375,000 salary that included a two million dollar signing bonus. If you do a good job, and deliver results, you are setting yourself up nicely for a future raise or promotion.

Remember ROI

What’s incredible about the Super Bowl is that so many people are watching and many of them aren’t even football fans. That’s why a 30-second Super Bowl spot in 2012 would put you back $3.5 million. That’s a lot of money in thirty seconds!

Advertisers pay for the eyes, but it might not actually be all that effective. The Super Bowl can get your brand in front of more than 100 million viewers but what’s the ROI? According to Forbes, many of the Super Bowl’s advertisers don’t return for another round because the ROI doesn’t justify the high price (and if you remember any from the dot com era… many companies simple no longer exist!).

Before you spend your own money on something, think about the return you are getting. Is that investment fundamentally sound? Does it have a long-term potential for gains?

Make the Most of Your Opportunities

Another good lesson is to make the most of your opportunities. A good example is the Super Bowl hosted in Dallas in 2011. It was a fiasco. 400 ticket holders were forced to stand because their seats weren’t safe. Dallas created a PR mess for themselves that will make it tough for them to secure another Super Bowl in the future.

On the other hand, a well-run Super Bowl, or other event, can be a great opportunity to shine.

To make the most of opportunities that come your way, be prepared. Make sure your finances are in a healthy state so you don’t have to let a good deal go by. Make sure you know what you want in your career so you can carve the right path for yourself. Put yourself in a position to be able to say “yes” to career opportunities that will get you closer to your dream.

As you watch the Super Bowl—or any other major sporting event—think about how you can apply some of these lessons to your everyday life.

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