MARSHALL - Super Bowl Sunday is one of the biggest consumer events of the year that isn't about Christmas.
According to a survey commissioned by the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, about 179 million people are expected to be watching the biggest game of the year, up from an estimated 172 million last year.
Of those who plan to watch, about 99 million plan to throw or attend a Super Bowl party, up 2 percent from last year. About 10 million people will go to a restaurant or bar to watch the big game between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, down from 9 million last year.
Local proprietors say business on Super Bowl Sunday depends partly on the economy and partly on the weather and adjust their plans accordingly.
"We're not really expecting a lot, but you never know," said Tara Plante, manager of the American Legion Club in Marshall. "We have specials on wings and appetizers and happy hour all day."
The Legion has five big screen TVs in the lounge.
Plante has been managing clubs for 14 years and said the trend goes up and down, but in the last 10 years has been trending downward.
Mike Sweetman owns Extra Innings restaurant, which in partnership with the Varsity Pub has 13 TVs to watch. He's been in the restaurant business 17 years. Though he's made some plans he's not expecting a huge crowd on Sunday.
"It seems like it's been down in recent years," Sweetman said. "The trend seems to be toward private parties. We'll get a crowd. I'm not expecting it to be crazy, but it'll be fun."
The Wooden Nickel however, is planning to make it a big event. The restaurant and bar has 13 TVs.
"We're going to set up a big appetizer buffet, have a round robin eight-ball pool outing, specials on drinks and complimentary appetizers," said owner Darvy Ekness. "I think we'll get a fairly decent crowd."
Ekness has been in the restaurant/bar business for 42 years.
"Twenty, thirty years ago it was more of a big deal," Ekness said, "but people still want to get out a bit."
But if fewer people are going out to watch the game, the news is great for delivery restaurants.
"Delivery will be very busy; it's one of the busiest days of the year for delivery," said Pizza Ranch Manager Nick Garside. "In-house will be very slow."
Jesse Schreifels, general manager of Domino's Pizza, expects amazing things.
"Most everyone available is on staff that day, and I'm thinking of having extra people on call in case we get extra busy," Schreifels said.
Schreifels thinks a lot depends on the weather, and it's expected to be cold on Sunday.
At Pizza Hut, shift leader Anthony VanOverbeke said, "We're expecting to be very busy. Every employee is going to be here. We're running four drivers, if not five, which is a lot because we usually have two a night."
Mike Samuelson, owner of Papa John's Pizza, described Sunday in one word: "Busy."
Samuelson estimated his business would probably be about 70 percent delivery and 30 percent carryout.