Are you ready for Super Bowl Sunday?
To be blunt, Super Bowl Sunday is football, TV commercials and a reason to throw a party. In most cases, it doesn't even matter who is playing in the big game.
But for some, it's much more than a sporting event or a party. For some, it can be the reason to buy a new big-screen TV, overload on snack food, or maybe head over to the nearby watering hole to take in the game with some of the locals.
How about a new TV to turn the living room into a football temple?
For anyone throwing an at-home Super Bowl party, the quality of the viewing apparatus can either heighten or dampen Sunday's action. So, having the right TV for the weekend spectacle can be a vital expenditure.
Rick Dahle, owner of Cullen's Home Center in Willmar, said in past years he's sold many TVs and home theater systems in January because of Super Bowl Sunday.
"The reality is, football is the largest driving force for television sales of any sporting event," Dahle said. "You have Christmas, you have New Years and bowl games, and then there's a nice push at Super Bowl."
Dahle said this year has been slower for Super Bowl TV purchases than 2008, but that could be for various reasons. The decrease in TV purchase could be due to the variation in teams playing in this year's and last year's games or it could be the economic conditions, Dahle said. Coincidentally, January 2008 was Cullen's best month of the year in terms of TV/home theater sales because of the Super Bowl, Dahle said.
In past years, Cullen's has used the championship game as a promotional tool by holding related sales prior to Super Bowl Sunday. This year, Dahle said, promotions were a little different because of the upcoming digital television transition scheduled for Feb. 17.
Despite the differentiation, Dahle said the trend of buying a TV for the Super Bowl is still there, citing how he recently sold a 50-inch TV and a 72-inch TV for identical reasons.
"Both customers specifically referenced 'I have to have the TV before the Super Bowl,'" Dahle said. "They were specifically purchasing the TV for the Super Bowl."
Got a case of the munchies? Hit the grocery early
What good is a Super Bowl party if guests don't have snacks and refreshments to stuff themselves with, right? Of course, that means a special trip to the grocery is essential to Sunday's proceedings.
Gary Lindblad, grocery manager of Cash Wise Foods in Willmar, said his store usually sees a rush on potato chips, soft drinks and similar snacking items just a couple days before the big game. Cash Wise Foods is usually prepared for the demand, he said, because the store stocks up on the party items earlier in the week.
"We do order it in at this time specifically," Lindblad said. Cash Wise Foods also holds multiple sales for the snacks and refreshments prior to the sporting event.
Meanwhile, Lindblad said the store's deli also gets busy as a demand for hot wings and barbecue meatballs increases in the days prior to the Super Bowl.
For those making a last-minute run to the grocery store today, Lindblad suggests customers do so in the morning or afternoon otherwise they might go home empty-handed.
Like bigger, and maybe, a noisier crowd?
If hosting a big party isn't the best option for a household, many local establishments will provide all the hospitality needed for the Super Bowl with food specials and big-screen TVs.
In particular, Green Mill Restaurant & Bar in Willmar fills game day with a plethora of activities and plenty of customers.
Justin Thies, assistant general manager for Green Mill, said in past years the restaurant has gotten a pretty large crowd due to its Couch Potato Bowl, an event where customers haul in their own couches to the Willmar Conference Center so they can comfortably watch the game on a 10-foot by 10-foot TV screen with surround sound.
Thies said KKLN-FM 94.1 "The Loon" is also on-site, promoting the event and hosting activities, such as tailgating, prize giveaways, silent auctions and a field-goal kicking contest where the best kicker wins a new couch.
"Usually Super Bowl Sunday is very busy for us," Thies said. "We're still running the same Couch Potato Bowl back in the conference center and we expect it to be just as busy as previous years."
Thies said many customers have enjoyed the experience because of the "friendly bickering" between customers cheering for opposite teams and the overall game atmosphere provided by a large group.
For those wanting to join the Couch Potato Bowl, Thies recommends that people sign up their couch at the bar as soon as possible. The tailgating party, he said, will start at 3 p.m. Sunday.