Millennials spend big for Super Bowl fun

Sasha Amini is planning quite a spread for Sunday's Super Bowl.

The 26-year-old, who works in sales at a financial company in McLean, Virginia, will spend at least six hours in his backyard smoking a smorgasbord of meats, including brisket and ribs, to feast upon during the match up between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers. 

Amini will also be serving a lot of popular party foods, like wings along with some beer, to the 10 friends he plans to have over to watch the big game. Amini expects to spend about $200 on food and another $100 on alcohol. 

"We don't eat Dominos," Amini jokes. "I like to really host. I tell people they don't have to bring anything." 

The money tied to America's biggest sporting event is staggering. Americans will spend $17 billion on Super Bowl-related goods, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. 

A lot of that money is coming from millennials. 

Older millennials (ages 25-34) plan to shell out the highest amount on the Super Bowl, at about $150, for food, drinks, decor and other game-day necessities, the National Retail Federation says. The average American plans to spend about $95. 

The social aspect of the Super Bowl fuels consumer spending overall, but "millennials shop to make the game more memorable," says Tom McGee, chief executive officer of the International Council of Shopping Centers. Purchases include team shirts to wear as they watch.

Overall, 45 percent of millennials (18-35) will buy game-related merchandise, and 30 percent will buy electronics, like a new TV, the International Council of Shopping Centers said. 

"This is where we see the difference between millennials and their baby boomer counterparts, who are not making as many discretionary purchases," McGee said.


Some of the reasons why millennials spend more than other age groups include the fact that they are waiting longer to start families and buy homes, which means they may have more disposable income. And their older counterparts could simply already have enough merchandise and electronics, McGee said. 

The Super Bowl is the ultimate social event for many. A Reuters/Ipsos survey of 4,711 people, taken Jan. 15-29, that those 18-29 are nearly three times as likely to watch the game with friends or at a public place compared with those 60-plus (For more on the survey

Robin Smyton, a 27-year-old public relations executive, plans to spend around $100 to entertain about 10 pals in her Sommerville, Massachusetts, home. Smyton, however, admits that most of them have little interest in the game.

"It's all about hanging out, and eating food," Smyton said.

The trend is in line with millennials' preference for experiences: 38 percent note their primary reason to watch the Super Bowl is to be with friends and family, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. 

Indeed, 29-year-old Emily Fehr echoes that sentiment, saying the half dozen friends she plans to have over will watch the game, but that is not the priority.

"It's hard to get people together. So this is a good excuse to have a party," says Fehr, who is an information technology writer in Bristol, Virginia.

(Editing by Lauren Young and Lisa Shumaker)