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."
The numerals for the the game are seen at an opening ceremony for 'Super Bowl Boulevard' along Broadway as preparations continue for Super Bowl XLVIII in New York, Jan. 29, 2014.
Seattle Seahawks fans Todd Gibson and his son Karsten pose outside the stadium before the start of the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Feb. 2, 2014.
Fans Todd Barnes and Mitch Daniels photograph themselves on Super Bowl Boulevard in Times Square prior to Super Bowl XLVIII, Jan. 31, 2014, in New York City.
A police officer and his dog walk past football fans at the Secaucus Junction in Secaucus, N.J., Feb. 2, 2014.
Tim Froemke of Ritzville Wash., waits in a security line at the Secaucus Junction in Secaucus, N.J., Feb. 2, 2014.
Football fans wait in a security line at the Secaucus Junction in Secaucus, N.J., Feb. 2, 2014.
Seattle Seahawks fans pose for a picture in Times Square while they visit the Super Bowl Boulevard fan zone ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII in New York, Feb. 1, 2014.
Fans hold up posters of (R-L) Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, quarterback Russell Wilson, running back Marshawn Lynch, and cornerback Richard Sherman while they gather en masse at Super Bowl Boulevard fan zone ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII in New York, Feb. 1, 2014.
Seattle Seahawks fans sign a "12th Man" flag on "Super Bowl Boulevard" at Times Square, as part of the Super Bowl lead up, in New York Feb. 1, 2014.
Ron Hebron, of Portland, Oregon, wears his beard with Seattle Seahawks colors on Super Bowl Boulevard in Times Square in New York, Jan. 31, 2014.
Blitz, right, the Seattle Seahawks mascot, is sits with Miles, left, the Denver Broncos mascot, Jan. 31, 2014, on top of a Super Bowl sign during a live TV broadcast in Times Square in New York.
A man dressed as the Statue of Liberty poses for photos with football fans along Super Bowl Boulevard. Jan. 31, 2014, in New York. T
A fan of the Seattle Seahawks jokes with a fan of the Denver Broncos at the Super Bowl Boulevard fan zone ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII in New York, Jan. 30, 2014.
A billboard is displayed along Super Bowl Boulevard in Times Square in New York, Jan. 31, 2014.
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and Denver Broncos head coach John Fox speak at a news conference, Jan. 31, 2014, in New York.
A fan visits the Super Bowl Boulevard fan zone ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII in New York, Jan. 30, 2014.
A police officer walks next to a fan at the Super Bowl Boulevard fan zone ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII in New York, Jan. 30, 2014.
Denver Broncos strong safety David Bruton runs an interception drill during an indoor practice session for the Super Bowl at the New York Jets Training Center in Florham Park, New Jersey, Jan. 30, 2014.
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning readies to throw a pass during a practice session for the Super Bowl at the New York Jets Training Center in Florham Park, New Jersey, Jan. 30, 2014.
Soprano Renee Fleming speaks at the Super Bowl half time press conference in New York, Jan. 30, 2014.
Bruno Mars who will headline the half-time show at Super Bowl XLVIII during a press conference, Jan. 30, 2014, in New York.
The New York skyline and the Empire State Building are seen in the distance as roman numerals for NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game are displayed in Hoboken, New Jersey, Jan. 30, 2014.
Seattle Seahawks fans walk to the stadium before the start of the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Feb. 2, 2014.