What the Super Bowl Can Teach Scouters

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Yesterday’s Super Bowl was a defensive slugfest better remembered for sacks and fumbles than lightning-fast runs and precision passes. For me, the highlight was the pregame introduction of every living Super Bowl MVP, all but two of who were in Levi’s Stadium for the 50th anniversary of America’s biggest annual sporting event.

What really struck me was a pregame mention that the stadium at the first Super Bowl (which wasn’t even called the Super Bowl yet) was only half full. According to SportingCharts.com, “The lowest attended Super Bowl game was Super Bowl I, which was then known as the AFL-NFL World Championship Game, hosted at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which had an attendance of 61,946. The game, from an attendance standpoint, was considered a disappointment as the max capacity for the coliseum was over 100,000 at the time.”

This year, of course, the NFL didn’t have any problem selling tickets–which resold on the secondary market for $4,639–or advertising–which cost up to $5 million for a 30-second spot.

While there are many reasons the Super Bowl has become a sports marketing juggernaut, I think the biggest reason is tradition. The Super Bowl is simply what people do at this time of year, even if they couldn’t care less about football the other 364 days.

Sometimes in Scouting we’re too quick to try something new if we don’t get the results we want. We give up on a senior patrol leader who isn’t working out. We don’t try backpacking again after a weekend of blisters and grumbling. We shift from one fundraiser to another to another without taking the time to establish a customer base. We don’t celebrate our past the way the NFL celebrates its great players and coaches in the Hall of Fame.

What traditions does your troop celebrate? How are you building on the past? You’ll never sell out a 100,000-seat stadium or attract national-level advertisers, but if you build a strong program, you could become simply what kids in your community do at this time of year and during every other season too.

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