Move over AFL – Super Bowl is making its mark on the sports calendar
With five Gridiron clubs actively recruiting players in South Australia, six AFL players converting to American Football and the sport being broadcast on free-to-air television (through One HD) and regularly covered by Sports Tonight, it's no wonder Super Bowl day is fast catching up to ALF Grand Final day in the popularity stakes.
The Palmer Hospitality Group, pioneers of the modern hospitality industry in Adelaide, spending 30 years breathing life into iconic, suburban hotels such as The Highway, Warradale Hotel and Morphett Arms has reported a huge boost in guest attendance to watch Super Bowl with a 20 per cent increase year-on-year over the past four years.
According to The Highway's General Manager, Simon Adami, the 'interest in American Football, especially Super Bowl' will only continue to grow.
"As kids, we grew up watching AFL players like Sav Rocca and Ben Graham exhaust their Aussie Rules careers. And now, 13 years later, they're enjoying a second careers playing American Football – and playing really well!" said Mr Adami.
"There are five Gridiron clubs in Adelaide and a group of players asked if The Highway would consider playing the free-to-air Gridiron games for them. Naturally, we did and over the years we've seen the number of guys and girls watching Gridiron grow and grow.
"It seemed like a natural progression to not only screen Super Bowl on The Highway's outdoor screen but to celebrate it. Starting with 50 or so guests in 2010, in 2013 we were at capacity with over 300 guests eating NY style hotdogs, drinking Budweiser and enjoying half time entertainment." continued Simon.
South Australian Gridiron Association Chairman, Michael Brown, has also seen the growth of the sport and describes Adelaide's Gridiron scene as 'booming'.
"It was a long, hard slog to get the association up and running. We ran lotteries to gain funding for equipment and finally saw the first season kick off in 1986 and the competition has been running uninterrupted since then." Said Mr Brown.
"Since then, the sport has grown from strength to strength. South Australia has five Gridiron clubs filled with highly skilled and passionate players and there are presently five players in the competition who have represented the Australian team in international competition."
"Of course all of our players look forward to Super Bowl day and watch the game with their team mates and team supporters. It is big day for gridiron as it is the one day of the year when our game is something that captures the attention of all sports lovers." concluded Mr. Brown.
Super Bowl XLVIII will be screened live on The Highway's and Warradale Hotel's outdoor screens and with sound on Monday February 3rd. For more details, visit www.thehighway.com.au or www.warradalehotel.com.au