With shrewd marketing, peaceful coexistence between players and owners that allows for salary caps (and minimums), and an $18 billion network and cable TV contract, the National Football League (NFL) is the most successful professional sports league in the U.S., and the Super Bowl is its crown jewel. Here are the numbers behind Sunday's big game:

  • $42,000: Average price for a 30-second commercial during the first Super Bowl in 1967.
  • $2.1 million: Average price for a 30-second commercial in this year's Super Bowl.
  • 61: Number of 30-second ads sold for this year's game.
  • 130 million: Number of Americans expected to watch at least part of the game.
  • 0: Number of times Ozzy Osbourne curses in a spot for Pepsi (also featuring Donny and Marie Osmond).
  • $1.1 million: Average 2002 NFL player salary.
  • $4.5 million: Average 2002 National Basketball Association (NBA) player salary
  • 6'5": Height of NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue
  • $4.8 billion: 2002 NFL revenues
  • 63%: Amount of 2002 NFL revenues shared equally among its teams.
  • 14,692: Expected number of tortilla chips consumed by Fool staff on Super Bowl Sunday.
  • $3.5 billion: 2002 Major League Baseball (MLB) revenues.
  • 20%: Amount of 2002 MLB revenues shared equally among its teams (increasing to 34% in 2003).
  • 1: Wins needed to propel Tampa Bay or Oakland to Super Bowl glory.

Whether you're a Bucs or Raiders fan, or just watching for the commercials, or because your spouse won't let go of the remote, enjoy the game -- and try to get to work on time on Monday. Actually, strike that. We don't care about your job. Just get to Fool.com in time for our take on all the day's market news.

In today's Motley Fool Take:

Starbucks' Juiced-Up Sales

Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX) has started out its fiscal 2003 with a bang, not a whimper. (Reverse apologies to T.S. Eliot.) The coffee company's first-quarter results are scorching hot, and so are its shares, up 12% today.

Revenues jumped 25%, as previously announced, to $1 billion. Same-store sales were also jacked up, growing 9% for the quarter.

Starbucks' earnings shot ahead 17% to $80 million from last year's $68.4 million. On a per-share basis, that's $0.20 versus $0.17 -- rich enough to top analysts' expectations by two cents.

Margins were largely unchanged, underscoring the caffeine pusher's business strength in the face of a weak economy. Gross margins were up slightly to 58.2%, while net margins dropped a tad to 8%. Starbucks brewed up nearly $140 million of free cash flow during the quarter, as well. Not bad for hocking bean water, eh?

The coffee king pointed (again) to the Starbucks Card as a real driver of its results. The quick turnaround for customers who use the card, rather than fumble around for cash, gets them the juice even faster. Obviously, that speeds up response rates and leads to more people buying more coffee. It creates positive impressions, too, in the minds of customers who have good experiences and therefore return. The company's new automated espresso machines also give sales rates an extra jolt.

Looking ahead, Starbucks sees another successful year (we're starting to sound like a broken record!), raising its 2003 earnings forecast to $0.67-$0.68 a share from $0.65-$0.66. Should that play out, it will mean earnings-per-share growth of around 22% from fiscal 2002. The chain expects to open at least 1,200 new shops during the year and increase total revenues by 20%.

Starbucks' success has almost become passé. The company's just so good and so solid that it becomes increasingly difficult to generate enthusiasm again and again for its outstanding results. Those poor shareholders....

Yeah, right.

Quote of Note

"The voodoo priest and all his powders were as nothing compared to espresso, cappuccino, and mocha, which are stronger than all the religions of the world combined, and perhaps stronger than the human soul itself." -- Mark Helprin, Memoir from Antproof Case, 1995

Rumble in Amazon's Jungle

Things keep getting better for the online retail bellwether left for dead by the Street a little more than a year ago.

Shareholders don't need to be reminded of Amazon's(Nasdaq: AMZN) amazing run. They have seen the stock nearly triple off its 9/11 lows, despite a sputtering market. With the company coming off an analyst-thumping fourth quarter and setting its sights on a brighter 2003, is it too late to take back all the snide remarks made after CEO Jeff Bezos was crowned Time's Person of the Year in 1999?

Think about it. What did the cynics argue about back then? That Amazon's low-price strategy would put it out of business? Well, it has survived and done that one better by making free shipping a permanent fixture. That Amazon was a debt-laden, money-scorching disaster? Well, it produced $135 million in free cash flow in 2002. That Amazon's days of growth were numbered? Well, it will deliver pro forma profits of $0.27 a share and is looking for sales to grow by at least 15% this year.

Yes, we can always scold a company for its liberal definition of "pro forma," but it's hard to argue with Amazon's 2002 free cash flow and the fact that it reported an actual profit -- all expenses considered -- over the holidays. Fourth-quarter sales grew by 28% to hit a healthy $1.43 billion.

It's time to get real. The dot-com dream of fat margins in e-tail, given the operating efficiencies and lack of local operating overhead, may never materialize. Amazon will play it razor-thin with free shipping and low prices -- the only two proven tonics to grow sales online. With Wal-Mart(NYSE: WMT) trading at a little more than one times trailing sales, maybe Amazon will never command a premium much greater than its price-to-sales multiple, which is twice what Wal-Mart commands.

The upside may be capped, but naysayers have to concede that Amazon won't fall prey to spontaneous combustion. It's here -- for keeps.

Discussion Board of the Day: Amazon

Has Amazon crossed the line and become a legitimate retailer? Is the stock overvalued, undervalued, or priced just right? Is the free shipping on all orders over $25 a sound strategy? All this and more -- in the Amazon discussion board. Only on Fool.com.

Fujitsu Dips Intel's Chips

Chip maker extraordinaire Intel(Nasdaq: INTC) is turning Japanese. Well, sort of. The American company is partnering with Japan's Fujitsu to turn out some Linux-based, Intel-chip-havin' servers.

For Intel, which has a hankering to get its chips into more than just personal computers, this is a nice step forward. It's also a solid vote of confidence for its 64-bit Itanium line of chips.

Fujitsu will use the ultra-fast Itanium chips for its high-end servers and Intel's Xeon chips for smaller systems. The huge Japanese computer and electronics company expects to have the smaller servers ready for market by the end of 2004, and the more sophisticated systems out in 2005.

No one wants to shut Microsoft(Nasdaq: MSFT) out of the action, of course, so the servers will run both Windows and Linux. Fujitsu, though, is banking on the success of Linux-based products for its cost-conscious corporate clients, and has created a team of 300 engineers devoted to just that effort. Intel cares not -- it can power either operating system.

Fujitsu is the fifth-largest server manufacturer in the world, and has been producing servers using the Unix operating system and Sparc architecture from Sun Microsystems(Nasdaq: SUNW), in addition to turning out its own proprietary systems. Sun seems none too pleased about today's announcement, with one corporate officer saying that Fujitsu is "asking for it" by betting on so-called untested technology. (Bitter, party of one, now seating.)

The agreement between Fujitsu and Intel isn't exclusive, though. Fujitsu will continue to make its own servers, as well as the Unix/Sun ones. The company will just have another offering soon, broadening its product line and perhaps market share. That's an unquestionably good thing for Fujitsu, and certainly for Intel, too.

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Quick Takes

American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) bit the bullet today, laying off 1,300 workers and cutting its dividend by 42%. The country's largest utility is in financial straits as it struggles with a huge debt load.

E*Trade (NYSE: ET) Chairman and CEO Christos Cotsakos tendered a surprise resignation today. He's been the subject of controversy since it was disclosed that he stood to make about $80 million in 2001 compensation.

Two of the country's largest defense contractors posted fourth-quarter losses. Lockheed Martin(NYSE: LMT) lost $0.77 per share and said pension-fund costs would hurt future earnings. For all of 2002, however, Lockheed generated $1.7 billion in free cash flow. Meanwhile, Raytheon(NYSE: RTN) lost $0.04 per share but raised guidance for 2003.

Shares of Nortel Networks(NYSE: NT) jumped 10% after the telecommunications equipment supplier posted a $0.06-per-share fourth-quarter loss, far better than last year's $0.57 loss. CEO Frank Dunn believes the company's cost-cutting measures are paying off: "We have now stabilized our business model, and ended the year with a very strong cash balance."

In local news, the family of Caleb Barkley put away their Monopoly game for the last time. "After playing it 27 times together, we realized it just isn't that much fun," said daughter Julie. "We'll be concentrating on the Top 50 list at Funagain.com, instead."

On the Air: This Week on The Motley Fool Radio Show

This week on The Motley Fool Radio Show, David and Tom Gardner talk to Monster.com founder and chairman Jeff Taylor and visit with game-show legend Chuck Barris.

And do you have an interesting job that you'd love to talk about? Next week's show features our "How's Business?" special. Maybe you're a butcher, a baker, or candlestick maker? Maybe you're a farmer, rancher, musician, a puppeteer, or a paralegal. Tell us about your job. Give the Fool Radio line a call at 866-NPR-FOOL. That's 866-677-3665.

And Finally...

Today on Fool.com:

  • For updated stories throughout the day, be sure to bookmark our ever-changing News section.
  • Our personal finance experts explain how to make the very best decision with every dollar.
  • With growth in 2003 hinging on second-half results, investors in KLA-Tencor are nervous.
  • Fool Community member Rodger Garfinkle takes shareholders' concerns straight to the top.
  • Be prepared -- the IRS is once again performing random audits. Check out our Tax Center to learn more.
  • In Fool's School, find out how a company earns money, and where the money goes.

Bob Bobala, Robert Brokamp, Jeff Fischer, Tom Jacobs, LouAnn Lofton, Bill Mann, Selena Maranjian, Rex Moore, Rick Munarriz, Matt Richey, Jackie Ross, Reggie Santiago, Dayana Yochim