Super Bowl commercials: Harry Potter park preview and 'National Lampoon's Vacation' returns

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For many Americans, watching the Superbowl is an obligatory annual event and a good excuse for a Sunday party. As one of the most-watched annual television events with close to 100 million viewers according to Nielsen ratings, the half-time musical performance draws viewers as well as the 30-second advertisements.

A Nielsen poll also claims that 51 percent of the viewers prefer the Super Bowl commercials to the action on the field. With the high numbers of viewers and captive audience, advertisers pay as much as $2,600,000 for 30 seconds during the game's breaks. Though some regular advertisers such as General Motors and Pepsi-Cola won't participate this year, the spots have sold out.

The much-anticipated commercials are amusing, clever, zany, juvenile, risqué, controversial, and offensive. Concepts often aim for the target audience of mostly male football fans but more people than football fans watch the spots online and through other venues.

Here are some highlights of commercials to air during the game:

 - The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - get a first glimpse at the new theme ride at Universal's Islands of Adventure which launches this spring at Universal Studios Park in Florida.

-'s "Timothy Richman" - this spot showcases a child savant's superior knowledge of life's obstacles, including the purchase of a vehicle.

- "National Lampoon's Vacation" sequel - HomeAway, an online vacation rental marketplace, reunites actors Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo for a reprise of their roles as the Griswolds from the 1980s comedy National Lampoon's Vacation. The spot during the Super Bowl is a teaser for a 15-minute short film with the Griswolds to air on its website:

To watch all the commercials without sitting through the Super Bowl, cable channel Spike TV, will present the 'Commercial Bowl' 2010. Immediately after the game, the spots will be posted on its website, plus the catalog of the last eight years of Super Bowl ads:

Viewers can also vote on their favorite Super Bowl commercials on YouTube:

The Who will perform an approximately 12-minutes during half-time, giving viewers another entertaining reason for fans to tune in. At the press conference announcing the band's show, singer Roger Daltrey declared his team. "New Orleans is due a little bit of luck, so I'm going with the Saints."

"In that case, I'd go for the Colts," Pete Townshend replied, which is how many are responding to the game since the Colts are favored over the underdog Saints.

The Super Bowl XLIV airs on Sunday, February 7 6:25 pm EST on CBS television. The New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts play in Miami's Dolphin Stadium.