In the United States, there are sports, and then there are Sports. The former category includes things like hockey match-ups between non-contenders, small-market basketball games and late-season matchups between baseball teams who have already been eliminated from the postseason. The latter category is what captures the attention and imagination of viewers around the nation. It includes Red Sox-Yankees games, nights when Kobe Bryant has a triple-double, or essentially every NFL game during the football season.
The NFL is a cash cow. Baseball may be America's pastime, but football is America's game. The Super Bowl is the culmination of sports interest in the United States and is essentially a holiday unto itself at this point. It's no wonder that networks and teams make so much off of its broadcast.
For instance, The Hollywood Reporter notes that, as of November, almost every Super Bowl commercial slot has already been sold out. Reportedly 95 percent are already bought and paid for, whether the actual ads have been made yet. What's more, the 30-second spots are selling for an average of $3.8 million. CBS, which is showing the game this year, is expected to make $225 million in one night thanks to their winning bid for the broadcast rights.