Super Bowl Around the World

7 February 2011 at 12:46 3 comments

The Neilsen ratings haven’t been released for Super Bowl XLV yet, but from the early reports it may have been a record viewership in the United States with well over 100 million people tuning in.  As a big American football fan I thought it would be fun to gather some stories about the interest (or lack thereof) in the Super Bowl from Kiva Fellows posted around the world.  Here’s what we found!


I purposely scheduled a two hour trip from Barranquilla to see some of Fundación Mario Santo Domingo’s projects in Cartagena this weekend as it is the epicenter of tourism in Colombia and I knew I would be able to find a few travelers to watch the game with.  I spent two days asking for “sports bar recommendations” to watch “fútbol americano” and came up with quite a few places to watch English Premier League games, but nothing for the NFL.  I gathered a group of Americans, Australians, and English and headed off to the most American place we could find: Hard Rock Cafe Cartagena.  Upon walking in the door we saw a promotion for a free drink if you wear a jersey supporting you favorite team and upon further inspection I saw some black and gold balloons along with 4 Steelers shirts.

The crowd was leaning towards the Packers, lead by my group and some a table from Mexico and the Dominican Republic.  The Steelers put up a good fight in the cheering section led by a Colombian woman from Bogotá that has been living in the US for the past 16 years.  We even had a Hard Rock Cafe “cheerleading” team and the ability to buy some tasty hot wings.  The biggest disappointment I gather from most fans; no US commercials, as the game was broadcast by the local ESPN  outlet and we had local commercials.  Overall, I think I got about as close as I could have to watching the game in the US from South America.

Hard Rock Cafe Cartagena, Colombia

I also decided to check the local newspaper, El Universal, this morning for any Super Bowl related articles; on the back page of section 1 I was pleasantly surprised.

El Universal, Section 1, Page 8

But, fútbol, or soccer for the Americas, still is king here after looking at the front page:

EL Universal, Page 1

John Gwillim, KF 14, Colombia


According to American media, there is growing excitement in Ghana about the first Ghanaian to make it to the Superbowl. The Kansas City Star reports that Charlie Peprah of the Green Bay Packers has become “somewhat of a hero for the 23 million people there.”

However, when I asked around, no one seems to have even heard of him. In fact, most people don’t know what American Football is. Looks like the Beautiful Game still reigns supreme here.

Football at Moree Beach, Ghana

Mei-ing Cheok, KF14, Ghana


In Bolivia American football is not very popular, however soccer is! When telling that I’m from the Netherlands, they often mention the loss in the World Cup final against Spain. Argh! When the Bolivian national team plays in La Paz they often win. Other teams call playing in La Paz the ‘suicide match’, because of the altitude: playing at a height of 3.660 meters (around 12.000 feet) is quite a challenge! However, last match in the South American Champions League between the number one team of Chile and the Bolivar team of Bolivia was won by Chile…

Fútbol (soccer) in La Paz

Klaartje Visser, KF14, Bolivia



When the Super Bowl airs at 4AM local time, I decided to do as the locals: sleep.  Sleep over football seems to be the consensus from here.

Adam asleep under a mosquito net in Rwanda

Adam Cohn, KF 14, Rwanda


While many of my friends and family back home are filled with excitement for the Superbowl, I can’t say people are filling the streets out of excitement for the Super Bowl here in Jordan. Right in our neighbors’ backyards, both steeling and packing have occurred, but there is no clear winner yet and the fans on each side are hedging their bets. A search for “Sports Bar” in Amman, Jordan, on Google Maps found just 3 results. Two out of the three are in the Marriott.

Google Maps search for "Sports Bar" Amman, Jordan

Alex Silversmith, KF14, Jordan


Within two blocks of my apartment there were dozens of bars showing the game. I watched the first half in an Irish pub and the second half in an English pub. No American pubs apparently. Almost all of the crowd were Mexicans, though a lot had lived in the US at some point. The crowds were evenly divided between cheese heads and asaderos. Channel 7 (Mexico City) even had a reporter on the field at the stadium in Dallas.

The game as seen from Mexico City

John Farmer, KF 14, Mexico


Kickoff time here in Yerevan, Armenia was around 4:30am Monday morning.  The streets were pretty quiet and very cold.  I decided to stay comfortable under my covers and watch the results from my laptop.

While international football (soccer) is quite popular here, American football is not. The most popular sports are wrestling and weightlifting.  I hear that the Armenian soccer team is not great and no one seems to know when the team will play next or where I can purchase tickets.

Best place to watch the Super Bowl in Armenia; in bed at 4:30 AM!

Caree Edson, KF14, Armenia


So even though the Steelers lost I had a fabulous Superbowl in Lima. I thought about bringing my terrible towel to Lima, but since it is quite valuable to me I didn’t want to chance losing it during the next three months!  I watched the game in my hostel with a bunch of folks who didn’t care at all about the game, but I didn’t mind. I even explained the rules of the game in Spanish to a Chilean, Australian and two Germans. I thought we had it. Sigh. Next year!

Steelers fan Noreen makes her own shirt while in Lima, Peru to show her team pride

Noreen Giga, KF 14, Peru

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone was not crawling with football fans….no one seems to know or really care about the game.  Despite the odds, KF14 member David was able to catch the end of the game in Freetown.

David McNeill, KF 14, Sierra Leone


Guatemalans in Quetzaltenango do not get too excited about the Superbowl, but every bar is happy to accommodate ex-pats, tourists, and volunteers from the U.S. who are in town for the game. Gustavo of KF14 celebrated the event with a large portion of Pearce Corps Guatemala, many of whom are currently displaced from their placements in the area of Coban, Guatemala. Coban is currently in a state of siege and all volunteers in the area were forced to leave indefinitely. Despite the setback, spirits were high and high fives were plentiful.

Gustavo Visalli, KF14, Guatemala

South Africa

South Africans care about three sports: soccer, rugby, and cricket. There were no signs of the Super Bowl in Richards Bay, South Africa, except for late last night in EB’s room. (She was rooting for the Packers.)

South African sports equipment selection; not an American football in sight

EB showcases her Green Bay pride from South Africa

EB Moore, KF 13, and Alexis Ditkowsky, KF14, South Africa

John Gwillim is a Kiva Fellow currently serving with Fundación Mario Santo Domingo in Barranquilla, Colombia.

Entry filed under: blogsherpa, Colombia, Fundación Mario Santo Domingo (FMSD), KF14 (Kiva Fellows 14th Class). Tags: , , , , , , .

Microfinance and Healthcare Revisited Reflections from Eight Months in the Field


  • 1. bali golf club  |  17 October 2011 at 21:08

    keep trying

  • 2. ndotoyakidege  |  9 February 2011 at 22:20

    AWESOME POST guys! Let’s collaborate more often!

  • […] several Fellows put into their Super Bowl viewing, though – you can read all about it on the Kiva Fellows Blog. South Africans don't care about American Football. They care about soccer, rugby, and […]

Get Involved!

Learn more about this blog and about Kiva Fellows


Apply to be a Kiva Fellow

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,347 other followers


Drawing from the Field

Kiva Blog Policy

%d bloggers like this: