The Super Bowl : A Pseudoevent?

While doing some reading in my textbook for my Fundamentals of Public Relations class, I read a section of a chapter that dealt with creating news. In this section, I came across the term pseudoevent, a word which the book says describes “events and situations that are created primarily for the sake of generating press coverage.”

Ironically (as today is Super Bowl Sunday), the book lists the Super Bowl as an example of one such event, saying:

The Super Bowl is essentially a pseudoevent invented by the National Football League (NFL) in 1961…it was originally designed to extend the professional football season and increase revenues. The event generates considerable hype and media coverage. It is the most watched television event of the year; in 2008 about 100 million people watched the XLII game (Roman numerals are part of the hype) as two American teams vied for the “world” championship.

My textbook acknowledges the seeming negative connotation of the term pseudoevent, but qualifies it by saying that “such events are considered legitimate news if they also meet the standards of traditional news values.”

Is this appraisal of the Super Bowl fair, or is it too harsh? How do you feel about the term pseudoevent?

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