A lot has changed since the first Super Bowl.
On Jan. 15, 1967, a new phenomenon began when the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs squared off against each other as the respective NFL and AFL champions. This game is now known as Super Bowl I. Until this point, these were two separate leagues.
At this time, the NFL was regarded as the better league, and the Packers were heavy favorites. They ended up winning the game, 35-10.
The game wasn’t actually referred to as the Super Bowl however until after Super Bowl III in 1969. This is the first AFL victory, when the New York Jets beat the Baltimore Colts.
The NFL Evolves
Now the NFL exists as one league, divided into two divisions (AFC and NFC), with four conferences each. The game aired on national television on both CBS and NBC. It’s the only game to be aired on two separate channels, because they had television rights to the different leagues.
The culture of the game itself has changed considerably over that time. In 1967, the Las Angeles Memorial Coliseum failed to sell out, with 32,000 seats left empty. Many fans complained about the average ticket price of $12. Super Bowls now regularly sell out with average ticket prices in the thousands.
Commercials have also changed considerably since the 1960s. In 1967, the average cost of a 30-second commercial came to $37,500. Today, that same 30-second spot during the big game can cost $4.5 million.
Some of the most successful and culturally significant commercials are aired first during the Super Bowl because of the large television audiences. In recent years, the game typically draws about 100 million viewers. The first Super Bowl had about 39 million viewers, by comparison.