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The Billion Dollar Game    by Allen St. John order for
Billion Dollar Game
by Allen St. John
Order:  USA  Can
Anchor, 2010 (2009)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Kelly Thunstrom

The Billion Dollar Game by Allen St. John highlights the background, planning, and logistics of the largesse known as Super Bowl Sunday, the one day on the calendar that can bring more people in the U.S. together than any other day save for Christmas. Nearly one hundred million Americans plop down in front of the television to watch three and a half hours of entertainment and commercials, with a football game somehow sandwiched in between all of the excess. St. John goes into the background behind Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, AZ, going back to the planning and process stages of how the Super Bowl bid was brought together all the way to the final gun.

While there is very little focus on the game itself, the book is an impressive read on the logistics that go into all of the parties and advertising that accompany the Super Bowl. St. John explains the economic impact advertising and parties have on the Super Bowl host city, which in some years is greater than the actual economic impact of the game itself. It's hard to fathom and equally unfortunate that the Super Bowl generates more economic impact than twenty-five countries, but St. John explains the breakdown of that billion dollars between advertising, tickets, and more.

Parties and party planning are heavily covered. St. John's book was a quick and captivating read but arguably was focused too much on the Playboy Super Bowl party (only one of hundreds of parties that occurred in Arizona during the run up to the Super Bowl). While an interesting side note as one aspect of the Super Bowl events, the focus on Playboy appears to be a ploy meant to attract and keep the attention of male readers. It would have been equally powerful to talk about a different party, perhaps one that didn't set up and run quite as well as the one Playboy put together. All in all, The Billion Dollar Game is worth the time and attention of those who like football, economics, and reading the articles in Playboy.

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