DALLAS ( TheStreet) -- Super Bowl Sunday taught retailers a hard lesson last year: Fan revenue isn't a given. It's earned.
Last year, according to Nielsen ratings, an estimated 153.4 million Americans watched part or all of the New Orleans Saints' victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV, with the National Retail Federation estimating they spent $8.9 billion on the game. The downside is that the NRF also estimated $52.63 per person in average Super Bowl spending last year, down from $57.27 in 2009. The economy may have improved slightly since, but companies are still going to have to convince consumers to spend, which means cost cutting and commercials. Judging by the $3 million Kantar Media says News Corp.'s (NWS - Get Report) Fox will be charging for commercials this year -- a return to 2009 levels after CBS cut prices last year -- and the more than $200 million it expects to rake in, retailers are placing huge bets on increased Super Bowl spending this year.
With 13.8% of game viewers hosting Super Bowl parties and another 25.6% attending them, the cost of snacks, drinks, apparel and even new televisions -- which the NRF says 3.6 million Americans bought last year, despite spending almost 10% less on everything else -- piles up like players after a fumble.
"Last year, we had about seven friends come over to our little apartment and enjoy the game on our brand-new HD flat-screen TV," says Voice of MainStreet blogger Harmony Fortenberry, a Texan who writes about cooking and entertaining. "We had only recently updated to flat-screen, so it was a big deal for us."Despite the obvious demand, retailers still offer consumers some huge deals. TheStreet took a look at pregame Super Bowl spending and found savings everywhere from pizza delivery to party house rentals in the host city. Regardless of who wins the big game, it's the consumer who comes out ahead.: