What do the Super Bowl Game Programs actually contain?


If you haven’t got one before, you might be wondering what the game programs actually talk about. Sure enough, they will provide the background to the two teams and the game ahead, but when the programs are between 200 to 300 pages long, you might not be aware of all the other content that is packed in.

Of course, there is the advertising. Even among all the American national sports leagues, the NFL is the most commercial. It is the professional sports league that generates the most revenue in the world and as you probably know already putting an ad on Super Bowl television networks during the game itself is the most costly form of advertising, largely due to the absolutely staggering viewership. While the H.O. Zimman certainly does not gain similar figures of readership, it is nevertheless a popular publication that is read. The advertisements are usually geared towards younger males, with the likes of sporting products, vehicles and cologne.

History of the Super Bowl and history specific to the teams involved is also common. Many people are already familiar with the teams involved and their coaching staff etc. but some of the extra trivia that is included is a nice touch. This usually comes with personal stories or recollections of previous encounters, and frequently includes interviews with Super Bowl heroes. Although I haven’t read most of the game program issues I have back to front, these are the articles I find most engaging and timeless.

Surrounding a Super Bowl game is usually a ton of hype. It isn’t just about the teams, there’s also the half time performances, big name sponsors and drama that brews. This is usually covered in detail, as well.

More recently, the Super Bowl game program goes into the NFL’s commitment to wider societal issues. With so much money flowing in, the NFL really have a duty to give back to the community. Their work with various charity organizations like United Way demonstrate social responsibility and the details of the work carried out is described by the game program. Another form of ‘giving back’ is through children’s football training, be it through football sports camps or NFL Combine preparation through a Jump Manual.

To get a better idea, you can access some of the more recent game programs online. Here is a link to the 48th game program.


Collecting Super Bowl Game Programs

Super Bowl XI Program Jan 1977

If you’re like me and you made your first Hozimman game program purchase recently, you might be tempted to become a game program collector like myself. Luckily, you can find a lot of them going for very reasonable prices over at everybody’s favorite shop, Amazon. For example, the 2015 program is available for under 6 bucks – http://www.amazon.com/Program-Stadium-Holographic-Superbowl-Arizona/dp/B00SKD7X3Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1442450704&sr=8-1&keywords=superbowl+game+program.

Unfortunately, the Game Program dates back over 45 years ago, so if you’re wanting to acquire a more impressive collection, Amazon hasn’t got you covered. Obviously, eBay is a good place to find a lot of the others. More recent ones are fairly easy to obtain, and they won’t break the bank either. This is no doubt because of the huge surge in the popularity of the Superbowl over the last few decades, making the circulation of the programs quite large. However, if you’re looking at the very first few programs, you’ll need to spend a lot more. Today I found the original 1967  game program on eBay (http://www.ebay.com/itm/SUPER-BOWL-I-January-15-1967-1-Game-Edition-Program-Not-A-Replica-EX-/361379715041?hash=item5423e8d7e1), published only a few years before AFL merged with the NFL, but it will set you back a whooping $550.

The internet is definitely the fastest way to build your collection. However, it is also the most expensive method, especially if you are in a hurry. But if you’ve collected anything before, you’ll know that the very act of collecting is a hobby that can last a lifetime. That’s the fun part of it. For me, the internet is a powerful tool – I use auction snipers and regularly scan websites to see if there are any bargains. However, you can definitely pick these at well below their market value at local yard sales and the like – so keep a look out!

Good luck to all you super bowl game program collectors!

The History of the Superbowl Game Program

2015 game program

Since the first football game between AFL and NFL in 1967, the history of the Superbowl has become a storied tradition, but did you know that it wouldn’t be called the Superbowl until 1969?

The official game program of the 1969 match was proudly blazoned Super Bowl, making that program the thing that named one of the biggest institutions in American sport. Small wonder that the program has become a piece of history itself.

The result of that recognition is that those who can’t make it to the game also want the program that’s part of the whole experience, and additional editions have been published every year intended for distribution among those who aren’t directly attending. Like the game programs given out at the Superbowl itself, their cover design incorporates part of the design of the year’s ticket stub, making each year something special.

The programs themselves have grown since the early days, with the versions published for the past decade by H.O Zimman being around 240 pages, with a hundred pages or so of adverts leaving over a hundred and forty pages for beautiful photographs of the season and playoffs that have led to this point as well as in-depth profiles of the teams competing and the history of the Superbowl event to date.

Holographic covers have been introduced but that’s not the only new ground being broken – five years ago, Zimman began to officially publish the program digitally as well as physically, and the digital version has gone from strength to strength.

This level of distribution is a far cry from the Superbowl V game program, where only a few thousand copies made it as far as the game after the delivery truck spilled into a swamp, ruining many!

It’s safe to say that the Superbowl program is an important tradition.


Super Bowl Wikipedia

H.O. Zimman Official

Other Non-Digital Media