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Super Bowl Popularity Grows Worldwide


Florian Bauer of Germany’s SAT.1 television

Florian Bauer of Germany’s SAT.1 television

American football’s championship -- the Super Bowl -- continues to grow in popularity, not only in the United States but also around the world.

This year’s Super Bowl will be broadcast to nearly 200 countries. More than 500 international journalists are in Indianapolis this week to cover the National Football League’s title game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots.

David Tossell of NFL International says the game will be carried in about 25 languages and that 15 foreign crews are on site to broadcast the game.

“That’s a big increase over the last few years. We’re seeing some new territories, for example, taking the game. Three or four years ago, we never had Chinese TV here, for example; now they’re here as well. The game continues to reach out to all corners of the world,” Tossell said.

Tossell says American football is a great advertisement for itself, that anyone who attends or watches this year's game can appreciate it -- from the strength involved to the graceful beauty of the wide receivers [i.e., pass catching specialists] to the story lines and personalities.

“If people give it a chance and if you have the opportunity to kind of break down that initial barrier of the difficulty of understanding the rules, then I think people discover there's a fantastic tapestry below that to enjoy,” Tossell said.

Each year, the Super Bowl kick offs at about 6:30 local time Sunday evening, so it will be seen at various hours around the world.

“We get good viewing figures from around the world, even though it’s all kinds of different time zones. That is one of the biggest problems that we face, that a lot of the world is watching the game in the middle of the night or over breakfast,” Tossell said.

Ikuma Isaac, a reporter for NTV

Ikuma Isaac, a reporter for NTV

In Japan, Nippon Television will show a tape delay of the game shortly after midnight on Monday. Ikuma Isaac is a reporter for NTV, which is a licensed partner of the NFL and has a crew of 26 here in Indianapolis. He covers the National Football League throughout the season for a popular weekly one-hour show called "NFL Club" that is watched by 30 million people.

Isaac says his station uses the Katakana language for foreign names and football terms, like this:

“Let’s say it’s ((Japanese)), first and 10, ((Japanese)), [New York Giants Quarterback] Peyton Manning, he’s dropping back, ((Japanese)), he got the pass through, ((Japanese)), or end zone is, you know, 'endozone,' touchdown is 'touchadown.' So I don’t know if you’d be learning any Japanese. But if a Westerner or if an English speaker actually listened to a Japanese broadcast of football, they would probably get what is going on,” Isaac said.

Isaac says that because many viewers are learning the game of American football, the play-by-play announcers on NTV’s main network make sure they explain the rules.

Florian Bauer of Germany’s SAT.1 television says soccer, of course, is the popular sport in his country. But he says he loves American football and that in his broadcasts he tries to educate others about his passion.

“I think the Super Bowl is prestige, and it’s one of the greatest events -- even if it’s not the greatest event -- in the whole world. And I think we have to be very proud to broadcast it,” Bauer said.

The NFL’s David Tossell says that virtually no matter where you are in the world, you should be able to find Sunday's Super Bowl telecast.

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