NEW YORK —
America’s biggest sporting event - the Super Bowl - has a major global following. Viewers around the world will tune in to American football’s championship game this Sunday to watch the Denver Broncos face the Seattle Seahawks.
It’s the first outdoor, cold weather Super Bowl in NFL history - this year held at MetLife stadium in New Jersey, just outside New York City. There was quite a frenzy Wednesday at Media Day in Newark, New Jersey.
The Super Bowl is the biggest media event in all of American sports, but it's not only domestic fans who clamor for coverage of the big game.
"Super Bowl is a great event for us internationally, something that is known around the world. Even if people aren’t NFL fans, they know about Super Bowl," said David Tossell of NFL International. "Super Bowl is a great chance for us to, it’s really the showpiece for what the NFL is and gives us a chance to reach a whole new audience around the world."
The New Jersey stadium has been packed with media from around the world leading up to the game, which will be broadcast to more than 200 countries. More than 500 international broadcasters are registered to cover the event. Several told VOA that the Super Bowl attracts big audiences in their countries.
“We have good ratings and in Moscow the sports bars, all sports bars are full,” said Dmitri Khaitovsky, a Russian sports commentator.
“In England and all over Europe the game of American football, which is what they call it, has been played for decades. It’s just now there’s more of an attention and emphasis by the NFL in doing games in Wembley Stadium," said Cecil Martin, of Sky TV in England.
"In Mexico, the [Pittsburgh] Steelers, the [Dallas] Cowboys, also the Denver Broncos, the 49ers-San Francisco, now the four or five teams have very much popularity in our country," said Luis Garcia of Mexican TV.
Manning big in Japan
It’s not just teams that are well-known. Many NFL superstars are well-known in other countries. Peyton Manning, quarterback of the Denver Broncos, has many fans in Japan.
"He’s pretty big. He’s pretty famous. We are pretty interested in how he does against the Seahawks,” said Yuki Makino of NHK Television in Japan.
With an estimated one billion fans worldwide watching the Super Bowl, the NFL just might be poised to expand its franchise to other parts of the globe.
“There’s obviously a lot of discussion whether we would have a franchise in London," said Tossell. "The commissioner himself has spoken about that and said that if we continue to do well in the U.K. it is something to be looked at."