Tom Payne gives the big contest a Classics spin over at ESPN:
Here’s a brief excerpt:
The ancient Greeks set the precedent. Admittedly, a mini-season of tragic plays in the fifth century BC didn’t attracted 153 million viewers, but we know that it mattered. The Athenians crammed as many as 20,000 viewers into their outdoor theatre, an assembly unmatched in those days by anything other than warfare, the scholar Simon Goldhill likes to point out. Instead of the countless hours of football pregame shows, there was the parade and sacrifice to the god of wine, Dionysus — a sign that the Athenian populace was about to binge. (Think beer, chicken wings and pizza).
… proving, of course, that the Greeks invented tailgating …