On Sunday, about 100 million people are expected to watch Super Bowl LVII, the culmination of the National Football League’s 2022 season, played between the American Football Conference champion Kansas City Chiefs and the National Football Conference champion Philadelphia Eagles.
Aside from the action on the field, seasoned and casual football fans alike will attend Super Bowl parties across the nation and consume vast quantities of traditional finger foods including buffalo wings, pizza, nachos and dips.
“Before and during the event, businesses face a supply chain challenge: making sure supply meets demand at the event and for all the viewing parties around the country,” said Richard Howells, an SAP digital supply change expert.
An estimated 12.5 million pizzas will be ordered on Super Bowl Sunday, Howells noted. That’s a 40% increase over “any given Sunday” during the year.
“Planning for that surge in demand means a huge increase in [often fresh] ingredients,” he said. “You had better get your balance of toppings right, or you could have very disappointed and hungry football fans on your hands.”
A 30-second advertisement slot for Super Bowl LVII will reportedly cost $7 million — and that doesn’t include production costs or the celebrity endorsement that usually is involved. But gauging the inventory required to manage the demand the next day is equally important.
“If you have the trending advert, the demand could go through the roof,” Howells said. “A dud could leave you with millions of dollars of inventory sitting in warehouses and distribution centers.”
All this puts a premium on demand planning and analytics applications, as well as on the agility needed to cope with unexpected outcomes.
But there is another aspect to the Super Bowl that should factor into our thinking, Howells said: “Super Bowl Sunday is the second highest in food wastage, just behind Thanksgiving. We should think more sustainably this year and work out how to not over prepare. We also should have a plan in place for donating or at least recycling as much as possible if demand lags supply.”