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The Billion Dollar Game: Behind-the-Scenes of the Greatest Day In American Sport - Super Bowl Sunday Hardcover – January 6, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Book Description
One hundred million spectators.
An economic footprint larger than the GDP of 25 nations.
Zero room for error.

An inside view of the 365 days leading up to the greatest event in American sport.

More Americans watch the Super Bowl than vote in presidential elections. Cities compete for the lucrative rights to host a game, and ad agencies, merchandisers, security personnel, and celebrity party planners quarterback their own teams starting a year in advance. Super Bowl Sunday is a national holiday for sports fans, who purchase 1.5 million large-screen TVs in the week before the game, attend one of 7.5 million parties, and eat more food than on any day other than Thanksgiving (according to the California Avocado Commission, Americans consume more than eight million pounds of guacamole on this single day).

In The Billion Dollar Game, New York Times bestselling author Allen St. John gets rare access to the people and corporations that mastermind this iconic event. He goes into the FOX Sports broadcast booth with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, and the longtime director/producer team of Artie Kempner and Richie Zyontz. St. John gets a front-row seat in the Madison Avenue conference rooms where the massive Anheuser-Busch campaign is being tested in focus groups, and he takes readers behind-the-scenes with stadium architect Peter Eisenman, and the billion-dollar deals brokered in Phoenix preceding Super Bowl XLII. Covering the political snafus, the organizational nightmares, and the well-oiled hype machine, St. John weaves a fascinating portrait of the National Football League and the Super Bowl--and examines how all the elements miraculously come together to create the biggest cultural phenomenon in American sport.

Amazon Exclusive: Allen St. John on The Billion Dollar Game

Why did I write a book about what goes on behind the scenes at the Super Bowl? Because no one had ever done it before.

My editor Jason Kaufman, who was also the editor of The Da Vinci Code, called me up one day to talk about our next book project and he wondered if I’d be interested in writing a book about the Super Bowl, not only as a sporting event, but as a cultural phenomenon and an economic engine, and even as an unofficial national holiday. I immediately recognized this as an amazing idea, and we were both shocked that no one had ever done it before.

Once I started writing, I understood why. This wasn’t an easy book to write. The Super Bowl is so enormous that all the stories could fill 10 books. I was lucky enough to find the very best stories--watching a world-class architect build a state-of-the-art stadium to host the game, the backstage preparations for the sizzling hot Playboy party, the controlled chaos in the FOX Sports television truck, that heart-stopping moment when they lost power only moment before Prince’s half-time show. Over more than a year of reporting the book, I got unprecedented access to the Super Bowl, and the people who make it run.

The result is a book packed with star-studded stories--and an amazing conclusion--that will thrill any sports fan. But The Billion Dollar Game is also a business book in the best sense of the term. The people who make the Super Bowl happen are all the very best at what they do, and from them can’t help but provide the kind of lessons that will help you handle those third-and-three moments in your life and your career. And, of course, watching all of this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and The Billion Dollar Game is my chance to share it. I hope you learn as much--and have as much fun--as I did.

(Photo © Jennifer May)


“After reading The Billion Dollar Game, you speak the language of the Super Bowl in a different way. You start sliding out facts and anecdotes, behind-the-scenes nuggets about camera angles, stadium construction, halftime shows, party planning and guacamole consumption—all the really interesting stuff that the general sports fan never glimpses. You’ll want to thank Allen St. John for writing a terrific book.”
—Leigh Montville, New York Times bestselling author of The Big Bam and The Mysterious Montague

“If anyone knows how to write an inside account of a big-time American sporting event, it’s Allen St. John. The Billion Dollar Game is a riveting, fun, behind-the-scenes account . . . it shows you the Super Bowl like you’ve never seen it.”
—Christopher Russo, host of Mad Dog Unleashed and New York Times bestselling author of The Greatest Sports Arguments of All Time

“Illuminating….An insider’s look at a billion-dollar industry and a game that is much more than just a game.”
--Sports Illustrated

"St. John's narrative is laced with intimate portraits and fresh figures–did you know the resale value of a stadium's worth of tickets exceeds $500 million, or that Americans consume eight million pounds of guacamole on game day?–that enliven the organizational challenge of carrying off the world's biggest bash without a hitch."

“[Allen St. John] looks at the Super Bowl from a non-football perspective...how money weaves through all of it in making this a billion dollar event.”
--Dallas Morning News

“It’s an absorbing, thorough look at the people and corporations that make the game possible.”
--Tampa Bay Tribune Online

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (January 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385523548
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385523547
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,236,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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