By Rory Carroll
LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – Sunday’s Super Bowl is expected to shatter viewership records in the U.S. and with an assist from the federal government, could be the most watched NFL game ever around the world.
The highly-anticipated match up between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs will be shown in 190 countries with an assist from the U.S. State Department, which is hosting watch parties in more than 30 overseas locations.
“Basically the entire world is getting access to the Super Bowl,” NFL Executive Vice President Peter O’Reilly told Reuters.
“It’s a galvanizing event that it brings together those avid fans who are going to watch it at 2 a.m. in Ghana and the casual fan in Australia who may just be coming to our sport but will have the opportunity to experience it and learn the game.”
Sports diplomacy is reaching new heights with U.S. embassies hosting watch parties everywhere from Chile and Cyprus to Rwanda, Turkmenistan and beyond.
“The NFL’s Super Bowl is a unique opportunity to share American culture with the world,” a State Department spokesperson said.
“The U.S. Department of State has collaborated with the NFL to host Super Bowl LVIII watch parties in over 30 locations in countries around the world.”
The NFL on Friday continued to push into new markets by announcing it will play a first ever regular season game in Spain in 2025 at soccer side Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
The league previously announced that it will also venture into South America for the first time next season with a game in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Sao Paulo will be one of five international games next season along with three in London and one in Munich. NFL clubs have agreed to holding up to eight overseas games in 2025.
“We always want to raise the bar, and we’re growing in popularity in all of those markets,” O’Reilly said.
The NFL is also pushing hard to raise the profile of flag football, a discipline of the sport that is easier to access for women and those outside of the U.S.
Flag football, which requires little protective equipment with play stopping when a defender pulls a flag from the waist of an opponent, is set to make its Olympic debut in Los Angeles in 2028.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Christian Radnedge)