(Photo by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
SIKESTON -- There will be plenty of action on the football field today when the New York Giants and the New England Patriots face off during Super Bowl XLII.
But the real action will likely be at gatherings celebrated in honor of the big game.
For Stephanie and Mark Anderson of Sikeston, hosting a Super Bowl party has become a tradition. Today marks the 15th Super Bowl party the couple has thrown.
"We probably send out 80 to 100 invitations and we also send some out on e-
mail a few weeks before the Super Bowl," Stephanie Anderson said.
Anderson said she and her husband have hosted the parties for so long they probably don't need to send out invitations.
"We're always going to have a Super Bowl get-together, and most people know that," Anderson said.
According to the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association's 2008 Super Bowl Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, 158 million people will watch the Super Bowl this year. Consumers plan on spending an average of $59.90 on Super Bowl-related merchandise, up from last year's $56.04. Total spending for the Super Bowl is expected to reach $9.5 billion.
The survey said 70 percent of consumers plan to watch the Super Bowl, relatively unchanged from the 69.7 percent who watched it last year. Of those that will be watching the game, 67.4 percent will be purchasing food and beverages and 6 percent will buy team apparel and accessories.
"We make up chili and hot wings and everybody comes and brings whatever they like," Anderson said. "We have a hodgepodge of a different variety of foods."
Anderson said she doesn't prepare for game day too much because she makes only chicken wings or chili and the party isn't in the house. However, it is quite a mess the day after, she noted.
Neal Kern of New Hamburg has also hosted a Super Bowl party in the shed near his home for the past 15 years.
"The last couple of years I've made chili, but this year we're going to fry some duck and french fries," Kern said.
Like Anderson, Kern said it doesn't take much preparation to watch the big game with about 15 to 20 of his friends.
"I've already got the supplies (to make the food)," Kern said.
Some of the guys begin cooking around 10 a.m. Super Bowl Sunday, Kern said.
It's an all-day affair for the Andersons, too.
"We start around 4 or 5 p.m. but some of the guys start cooking around 10 or 11 a.m.," Anderson said.
Sales on televisions and furniture were also expected to increase over last year in anticipation of football's biggest day, the survey said.
"Though this year's teams are both from the Northeast, people across the country will be watching the Super Bowl for entertainment," said Phil Rist, Vice President of Strategy for BIGresearch in a press release. "For many Americans, there is nothing better than watching football with friends and family--especially if they're also showing off a new TV."
Both Kern and Anderson said they've purchased new TVs for their Super Bowl-watching spaces within the past couple years.
"Last year we did buy a plasma screen TV, and we bought a tent to enclose the porch area," Anderson said.
The Andersons hold their party in their "Man House," which is detached from their house.
"It's a big, open room, and we have set up three or four TVs, and we hope to set up a projector screen this year."
While most viewers -- 46.7 percent -- say the game itself is still the most important part of the Super Bowl, 41.5 million, or 26.3 percent, consumers will tune in because of the commercials.
At the "Man House," those who really want to see the game pick out their seats early, Anderson said.
"I personally don't like football. The football thing is my husband," Anderson said.
Instead Anderson said she likes the social aspect of hosting the parties. The couple offer games for their guests such as a 50/50 raffle and game squares.
"We have a good time no matter who's playing. Of course it's more fun if it's our favorite teams," Anderson said.
"If your team is in it, you focus on the game," said Kern, adding he doesn't really watch the commercials.
And if his favorite team or the home team isn't playing?
"I just like hanging out with my friends and playing cards while the game is on," Kern said.
Kick off is at 5:17 p.m. on FOX.