The Super Bowl is America’s biggest sporting event, and there is even more glitter when two teams come from the business centers of New York and Boston. Private jets flying to Indianapolis for the big event are so plentiful that some of them are being diverted to airports that are two-hour drives from Indianapolis.

The New York Giants have a direct connection to the sport of horse racing. The team’s founder was Tim Mara (1887-1959), a bookmaker who focused on taking bets on the Sport of Kings. His family still owns half of the Giants. The original purchase price was $500.

The Pittsburgh Steelers–a frequent Super Bowl presence–have a similar genesis.  Like Tim Mara, Art Rooney (1901-1988) was an Irish-American Catholic and a gambler. He purchased the Steelers for $2,500 with his winnings from betting on horses, mostly at Saratoga. The Steelers played their first game in 1933 against Mara’s New York Giants. The Rooney heirs still own the team.

The San Francisco 49ers came close to making this years’ Super Bowl, losing to the Giants in a hard-fought NFC-division title game. This NFL club is owned by the family of the late Edward DeBartolo Sr., who operated racetracks in Louisiana, Ohio, and Oklahoma.

Another NFL note: This past week American universities held their annual signing day for senior-class high school football players. Rivals rates the various players who are available with a star system of 3-star players, 4-star players, and 5-star players. Based on past Rivals’ ratings, the 5-star players have a 46% chance of eventually being drafted by the National Football League, whereas the 4-star players have a 19% chance, and the 3-star players have a 9% chance. This record is a whole lot better than using purchase prices of yearlings at auction to forecast performance on the racetrack.

My Super Bowl prediction: The ads will be super.

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