American football fans in Taipei took part in an annual ritual in the wee hours yesterday morning, getting up early and gathering in sports bars to watch the biggest game of the year — the Super Bowl.
About 200 NFL fans spent the morning drinking beer and watching a broadcast of the Green Bay Packers’ 31-25 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl at the Brass Monkey, a bar located in downtown Taipei.
The 45th Super Bowl could not have taken place at a better time for local fans, as yesterday was the last day of the Lunar New Year holiday.
“A Packers Super Bowl victory. You can’t find a better way to start a brand new year,” said Wu Ching-chi, who works in Taipei.
Because of broadcast rights issues, sports channels in Taiwan stopped carrying NFL games four years ago, which means local fans can only watch the games on premium digital channels, said Steve Lin, an anchor and analyst at All Sports Network, which owns the NFL broadcast rights in Taiwan.
Yesterday morning, it appeared that most fans in the bar were rooting for the Packers.
“I would say that the New England Patriots probably have the most fans in Taiwan, but the Patriots were eliminated in the playoffs early this year, so my guess is that there are more fans supporting the tradition-rich Packers in the final,” Lin said.