Photo: KSTP/Frank Rajkowski
Photo: KSTP/Frank Rajkowski
January 31, 2018 09:11 PM
Super Bowls don't just draw in media from around the country. They pull in reporters from around the world as well.
Super Bowl LII this week in the Twin Cities is no exception.
So what impression is spending a week in Minnesota in the dead of winter leaving on those filing stories for an international audience?
"It's a beautiful place," said Matthew Sherry, the editor of Gridiron, a British magazine devoted to NFL coverage. "The people are very friendly.
"But it's extremely cold," he added with a smile. "I imagine it's an even more wonderful place in the summer."
Sherry is now covering his fifth Super Bowl. And he said the audience for NFL coverage in the United Kingdom – where the NFL has been scheduling several games each season – is growing.
"Year after year, the interest is increasing," he said. "It still doesn't get a huge amount of coverage. But neither does cricket or other secondary sports like that. Football (soccer) still dominates the landscape. But we're seeing incremental growth in our audience every year."
But Sherry said no British sporting event compares to the spectacle that is the Super Bowl.
"Absolutely not," he said. "We've hosted big events like the Champions League Final (a European soccer competition in which the continent's top-division clubs compete). But we don't do a whole week of build-up like this. I don't think there's anything like this in sports anywhere that compares."
Yi Yu works for the Mailman Group, which handles NFL social media accounts in China. She agreed it was hard to think of anything that measures up to the Super Bowl when it comes to hype surrounding the game.
"The Chinese Basketball Association is big, but it doesn't compare to this," said Yu, who is from China, but is attending school in the U.S. at the University of Southern California.
"The Chinese New Year's Gala is usually the biggest event in the country all year. And that's really what the Super Bowl is most like."
Carlos Torres is originally from Mexico. He now lives in Phoenix, but is covering the game for a television and web outlet in Mexico City.
And he said he's been enjoying his week in the Twin Cities.
"I never imagined I'd be here in the winter," he said. "Maybe during baseball season. But it's been wonderful. Even if I've never been so cold in my life."
He said he's been asked to file reports on how things are going in Minnesota.
"They want to know what the weather is like in Minneapolis," he said. "They want to know what the city's like. We're looking for themes that go beyond football a little."
But he said interest in the game between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday is high.
"There is a very strong fanbase for American football there," he said. "The Super Bowl is a big deal.
"The Steelers, Cowboys and Raiders are probably the biggest teams in terms of interest. But interest in the Patriots keeps growing, and growing because they keep winning."
Sherry said the first time he covered a Super Bowl – Super Bowl XLVII in New York in February 2014 – he felt a little overwhelmed.
"It was just madness," he said. "I'd never experienced anything quite like that in my entire life. There was a little bit of culture shock. But I've gotten used to it now. It feels more normal.
"I like being here."
Updated: January 31, 2018 09:11 PM
Created: January 31, 2018 04:02 PM
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