A few football numbers

Sometime not long before 11 p.m. today, the curtain will finally fall on the football season of 2018-19.

And, while it’s not possible right now to know whether New England or the Los Angeles Rams will win Super Bowl LIII, we know for sure that the Pittsburgh Steelers will spend their off-season trying to determine how a year that started off with so much hope and hype pretty much fell apart.

No matter what happens between now and the end of July when National Football League training camps open, we know for sure that through the ups and downs and the rough spots that come from time to time, fans in this region are loyal and continue to show their support.

That’s something we were reminded of earlier this week when a new survey from WalletHub rated Pittsburgh as being the best city for football fans.

The Washington, D.C.-based personal finance Website that puts out some interesting surveys on a regular basis said our region rated the best out of the 244 cities having at least a college or professional football team.

Pittsburgh was first among cities with an NFL team and 13th among cities with a college football team. Boston finished a close second after the 21 key metrics were examined.

Cincinnati was ranked as the 17th best city overall for football fans, while Cleveland was ranked 30th.

Since the survey included professional and college teams, it’s interesting to note that State College, Pa., was ranked as the 34th best city for football fans. Columbus, meanwhile, was far down the list, at No. 153, which is a bit of a surprise.

Morgantown, meanwhile, was 48th. Youngstown finished at No. 64, while Athens came in at No. 77.

There was some more interesting information to come from the survey. The Browns, for instance, have the lowest average ticket price in the NFL, while Heinz Field is the fourth most accessible stadium and Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati is the fifth most accessible. It also should come as no surprise that the Steelers and Green Bay Packers are tied for first for having the most engaged fans.

It also should come as no surprise that the cost of attending major college football games in our region is high.

Ann Arbor, home to That Team from Up North, was ranked 211th for having the highest minimum price for season ticket. Not too far behind were Ohio State’s home of Columbus and Notre Dame’s home of South Bend, Ind., which finished tied for 212th with Columbia, S.C.

¯ Super Bowl Sunday has become one of our nation’s biggest feast days of the year, and WalletHub also offers insight into how we will eat today.

Pizza, meat and wings are considered by 26 percent of us to be our favorite Big Game foods, with 22 percent of us favoring nachos, 11 percent favoring guacamole, 9 percent choosing chili and 6 percent choosing popcorn and chips. That means we will eat 1.38 billion chicken wings today along with 10 million pounds of ribs and 8 million pounds of guacamole. Pizza orders will increase by 30 percent today.

We’ll also drink 94 percent more beer today than we will drink on an average day.

It’s unlikely few of us will be willing to pay the $7,166 price for a ticket to the game that was listed as the average price on the resale market, but it’s very likely we will be watching on television, which is why CBS projects ad sales of $462 million.

If you only look at the fact that 23 percent of those surveyed say watching the commercials are the best part of the game, you’d say that’s money really well spent. But if you consider that only 10 percent of consumers say they remember the average Super Bowl ad and know the brand being advertised, or learn that 80 percent of Super Bowl commercials fail to change consumer opinions about brands, you might have second thoughts.

Anheuser-Busch remains among those who think the ads are a great value and has spent $389.3 million on Super Bowl ads since 2006.

And, while 31 percent of adults say they are likely to bet on the Super Bowl, 92 percent of those who have bet in the past say they have lost money.

That’s a lot of information to digest, and just a little more to think about as you sit back and enjoy the game.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)

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