The National Football League's annual championship game - the Super Bowl - is Sunday. More than 130 million people are expected to tune in across the United States. Experts say, however, media coverage of the game is expected to bring in nearly one billion international viewers, making Super Bowl XL the biggest one-day sports spectacular in the world.
For millions of diehard American-style football fans, Super Bowl Sunday is all about the game. But for hundreds of millions of the people tuning in around the globe who may have little or no understanding of the rules of the game, it is more about the spectacle.
Chuck Smeeton, who is covering Super Bowl XL for the Australian sports magazine Alpha, is a big football fan. But he told VOA Sports that is not the reason most Aussies will watch.
"I think it is more the event that is what is really interesting," he said. "There are games shown consistently through the season, but the Super Bowl is the one that everyone notices as 'the event,' you know, the greatest show on earth."
In an interview with VOA, David Tossell, the Director of Public Relations for NFL Europe, said the Super Bowl has grown into a huge international media event.
"We have credentialed about 350 international media this week, which is more than the total number of media who covered the first-ever Super Bowl," he said. "The game is going to go out in 234 different countries. We have about 15 or 16 international TV crews actually on-site at the stadium."
The coverage is expected to reach up to one billion viewers around the world. But Tossell says the Super Bowl will be a different experience all around the globe.
"We will have people in Europe who will be sitting up through the night and partying through the night watching the game," he said. "We will have people in Japan and China who are getting up and watching the game over breakfast, so it is a very different experience for different people all around the world. They understand the Super Bowl is a unique event, that it is like the biggest one-day sporting event in the world. And they understand that it more than just the game on the field. It is a little bit of Americana."
Mexico leads the international contingent with 38 media outlets, followed by Canada with 28, Britain with 16 and Japan and Germany with 11 each. Wang Jiapin with ZOU Marketing Ltd. in China told VOA Sports that there is also lots of coverage in her country.
"Shanghai Media Group cooperated with BTV, the Beijing TV station," Wang said. "They will report Super Bowl week every day. This is the third time China has broadcast the Super Bowl. People know [about the] Super Bowl. But they did not actually know about American football, but they know Super Bowl. They know it is one of the biggest sports events in U.S."
So whether or not international viewers understand the subtleties of the game, with pre-game and halftime music extravaganzas and creative new commercials throughout, there will still be plenty to enjoy.