Do remarkable sports achievements exist in a vacuum?
Prepare for the opening ceremonies this Friday, with some fascinating facts about the Winter Olympics. Have an ice day.
• The 2014 games are officially known as the XXII Olympic Winter Games. It’s the 22nd edition. The first took place in Chamonix, France, in 1924, just 28 years after the first modern-day Summer Olympics took place in Athens in 1896.
After spending six hours on the pregame, the game, and the postgame, what’s the best way to unwind after a long day of watching TV? Watching more TV!
• In the early years of the Super Bowl, the game was played and broadcast earlier in the day, not in primetime. Nor was it the TV event or near-holiday it is today. Now the game coverage ends around 10:30 p.m. eastern time, and subsequently earlier in the western time zones. This gives the network airing it (it rotates among the Big 4 broadcast channels each year) an ample opportunity to present a new show or expose an existing show to a potentially huge audience. The concept began in earnest in 1984, when NBC used its post-Super Bowl advantage to help launch The A-Team.
More than 40 years after the first Super Bowl broadcast, the halftime show is no longer just something to fill TV airtime while the football players rest—it’s now a spectacle unto itself.
1970: The NFL experiments with big-name celebrity halftime entertainers. Their first big star: Carol Channing.
1972: “A Salute to Louis Armstrong,” with Ella Fitzgerald, Al Hirt, the U.S. Marine Corps Drill Team…and Carol Channing. Armstrong had died the previous summer. Songs included “High Society” and “Hello, Dolly.”
Admit it: You only watch the game for the ads. Here are some facts about Super Bowl commercials.
• Since 1989, USA Today’s Super Bowl Ad Meter has tracked which of the game’s commercials most resonated with viewers. Once done with focus groups during the game, voting is now conducted online in real time. Some past winners include Diet Pepsi’s 1991 commercial with Ray Charles singing “You Got the Right One Baby,” and a 1992 Nike ad in which Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny play a basketball game on Mars against Marvin the Martian (which directly inspired the 1996 movie Space Jam). From 1999 to 2008, a commercial for Budweiser of Bud Light took the Ad meter honors.