While the National Football League's Championship Game, the Super Bowl, is played in the United States by U.S. teams, it has worldwide appeal. This year's game in Miami, Florida will be broadcast live to 232 countries and territories including China, Russia, Belgium, Hungary, Japan and France. VOA's David Byrd spoke to some of the International media covering Sunday's game, and reports the NFL's audience continues to grow.
More than 3,000 media members are credentialed for the Super Bowl. But listen in on one of the press conferences this week, and you are just as likely to hear Japanese, Chinese, French, Spanish or Hungarian as you are to hear English.
Richard Farago is with Hungary's Sport One television. He says that the NFL Championship game might keep a few people up late, but the League's fan base is growing.
"Everybody's talking about the NFL and of course the Super Bow," he said. So we have 12 teams in Hungary right now. So I think it is growing dramatically in Hungary as the NFL has said."
Sitting with Richard is Candor Kovacs, a linebacker with a Budapest American-style football team. He says seeing the NFL up close is the chance of a life time, and there's one particular player he wants to emulate.
"Brian Urlacher. That's an amazing thing. He's 6'4" he's fast like ? he's tough, he's hard nosed, what else. That's an icon. An NFL icon," he said.
Farhan Lalji is a reporter for Canada's Sports Network. He told VOA sports that the NFL championship game will draw as big an audience as Canada's Grey Cup of Canadian football, and could even rival a Stanley Cup ice Hockey final.
He said, "You know, even though it is not the CFL [Canadian Football League] people don't . . . it is a one-game deal. It is as much as football game as it is a massive event. So you know would it compare to game seven of a Stanley Cup final for TV ratings? Absolutely."
Jose Manuel Villalva is a reporter for Multimedios television in Monterey, Mexico. He says fans in Mexico are embracing U.S. football more and more each year.
"Ramiro Pruneda has just signed with the Kansas City Chiefs," he said. "So you could see that because of that reason, and because they have played all their lives - because there are many junior leagues, youth leagues in Mexico - the love for football in Mexico has grown."
Luciana Quaresma works with the Brazilian network and Internet site TVGlobo.com. This is her first time covering the Super Bowl, but she has worked for ESPN Television network broadcasting to Brazil in Portuguese. She says that the NFL game is catching on in Brazil to the point that there is now a beach football championship game in Rio.
"It is not like soccer of course. It is not a sport that we grew up with. But it is growing and people are playing on the beaches of Rio. They actually have the Carioca Bowl, which is the Super Bowl in Rio with the teams from Rio Di Janeiro and they play on the sand of Copa Cabana Beach," she said.
This year's Super Bowl is going to be broadcast live to 232 countries and territories world wide. The NFL has also expanded its influence in Europe by scheduling a regular season game to be played at London's Wembley Stadium between the Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants next season.