The NFL is in a funny place when it comes to international appeal. Although football is the most-watched sport in the U.S., its appeal overseas is nowhere near where it is in America. Despite this, the Super Bowl gets a lot of international viewers, as nearly one-third of viewers come from overseas.
With so many countries engaging in the Super Bowl festivities, the event has reached a level of prominence that’s hard to fathom.
How many countries watch the Super Bowl?
The Super Bowl mostly draws fans in one country, but 169 others have the chance to watch the big game. Perhaps, the championship is a one-time intrigue to those far interested in soccer or basketball; they want to see what the fuss is about America’s biggest sport. Or, maybe the game is secondary to the spectacle of commercials and halftime shows.
The Super Bowl is broadcast in seven languages in countries around the world. For fans interested in the big game, the NFL is a means to discover the best way for overseas viewers to find the best platform. The league continues to do all it can to spark interest in more countries.
The NFL overseas
The NFL has tried to infiltrate the foreign market for many years. The London games proved so successful that the team has moved on from one game in the UK to multiple games. Furthermore, the NFL has begun hosting overseas camps in markets, hoping it spurs interest with a younger crowd.
Infiltrating the overseas market has not come easy. For many years, the NFL tried to use Europe as a ground for players who couldn’t cut it in the league. While “NFL Europe” helped bring in superstars like Kurt Warner, fan interest was lacking and the league had to close.
One market that is growing increasingly receptive to football is Mexico. The NFL has started testing games there. If a team could catch on, it would make more sense than trying to accommodate an overseas opponent during a turbulent NFL schedule. The games played in Mexico City have spurred fan interest; Mexico is one of the largest NFL viewerships outside of the U.S.
Is the Super Bowl the most popular event in sports?
Because of the fanfare around the Super Bowl and the built-in American audience, it’d be easy to assume the Super Bowl, despite its international appeal, would be the most popular sporting event in the world. This is not the case, however.
While the Super Bowl is a spectacle like few other sporting events, soccer reigns supreme around the world. With nearly every other country embracing soccer over football, it is easy to see why. Events like the World Cup can get audiences of almost a billion people worldwide, taking full advantage of the fact that it happens every four years. The same can be said about the Olympics.
There is no event like the Super Bowl, and it has its place internationally. However, the game also shows just how localized the American love of football is. It may not be a coincidence that the sport shares a name with what most countries call soccer — it holds a similar local relevance here.
Regardless, hundreds of millions of fans will tune in when the San Francisco 49ers take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV.