The Big Game will be even bigger this year.
Pollsters are estimating a record number of people, perhaps as many 173 million, will be watching as the New York Giants take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5.
That means the event could generate significant consumer spending as sports fans head out to buy food, decorations, and perhaps even a new television to watch the two rivals go head to head.
According to a survey from the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association conducted by BigInsight, the average game-watcher will shell out $63.87 on game-related merchandise, apparel and snacks, up from $59.33 last year.
That means total Super Bowl spending is expected to reach as much as $11 billion.
In part, the bigger numbers likely reflect the fact that the two teams hail from the population-dense Northeast. But more Americans appear to be in partying mood, as consumer sentiment rises to an 11-month high. The survey found more people will be attending parties (27.1 percent) or hosting them (15.3 percent) compared with last year.
The event also comes on the heels of a better-than-expected holiday season that largely left electronics retailers in the dust. Stores are already advertising steep discounts for televisions, hoping to move out inventory that didn’t get sold over the holidays.
About 5.1 million people are planning to buy a new television, specifically to watch the football game, according to the survey. Last year, BigInsight estimated 4.5 million people were planning to buy TVs.
And as for that other Super Bowl tradition—the commercials—Nearly three-quarters of the viewers say they see them as entertainment.
The survey found 16.9 percent say the commercials make them aware of the advertisers’ brand and another 8.4 percent say the commercials influence them to buy products from advertisers —the highest percentage reported in the survey’s history.