Brazil Heads to Panama Without Film to Study; ESPN+ to Broadcast Game in Brazil

Over the last few weeks there have been some questions related to the approaching IFAF Americas Qualifying Bowl between Brazil and Panama scheduled to take place in Panama City, Panama on January 31st.

The Brazilian federation’s ability to provide flights to its squad and the availability of Panama game film have been called into question. We have some updates on both fronts.

Brazil’s Trip Not in Jeopardy

It was confirmed this weekend that the Brazilian national team’s full 45-man roster will be traveling to Panama for the Qualifying Bowl.

Last week, there was some concern that Brazil was having trouble getting the “Oncas” to Panama.

According to Flavio Cardia, President of the Confederação Brasileira de Futebol Americano (CBFA), monetary issues could have prevented Brazil from the January 31st game against Panama.

Official Bowl Flyer Web (1)

Brazil – Panama Game Poster

As stated on the Mexican site, Cardia told local media at an event to raise the money needed to make the trip;

Both the lodging and feeding of the 55 members of the Brazilian delegation that will travel to the Central American country is guaranteed, however the cost of air tickets for the trip is very high. We (Team Brazil) each will have to pay about R 2,500 ($970 US)  for the whole trip. The cost of round trip plan tickets for all of the Brazilians is R 137,500  ($53,000 US) and there is currently a deficit of R 90,000 ($34,000 US) and time is running out to get them.

Cardia is confident that the Brazilian citizenship or potential sponsors will respond, because “to attend our first world championship football is a common dream for Brazilians.”

A solution might have presented itself in the last few days. The CBFA‘s International Director Daniel Stoler Condessa told AFI;

This moment is great, but still a lot has to be achieved. We did have a problem with a company that became uncertain when the cancellation in Sweden was announced. Right now, all of us had to pay from our pockets, even those without much money. Right now, we’re raising money to help pay back for players and staff, and hopefully this broadcast from ESPN will help us get more sponsors for the national team.

As of today’s publishing the Brazilian national team players have had to pay there own way to Panama City. Although new sponsorship or funding has yet to come to reimburse the Oncas, it is safe to say the the IFAF Americas Qualifying Bowl on January 31st is on!

Pre-Game Film Sharing?

A few Brazilian players and coaches have expressed concern on the lack of film on their opponent Team Panama. Requests for film have been made but as of today the Brazilians have had no Panama national team film to study.

The Asociacion de Football Americano (AFFP) has stated that it has not provided national team film to Brazil because in Panama practices and games are not filmed and only film from news coverage is available. As with most emerging federations, funding and budgets for filming do not exist.

Film from Panama’s semi-pro league, the PMFL, is available on Youtube, but this obviously not the same.

Typically in competitions between South American nations it has been practice to engage in film sharing. The Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile national teams have films openly and readily available for one another on Youtube.

According to IFAF, teams are encouraged to exchange films. It used to be mandatory 10 years ago, but the fact that most national team games films might be 1-2 years old, means it is now not required.

This logic is based the idea that most teams will have likely changed to new coaching staffs and have different players and schemes. Teams now often request for game film from the a national team’s current offensive coordinator’s club team or university. Because of these nuanced requests it was decided it was enough to encourage teams to talk with each other to fill each others needs.

Before now, dialog between the competing nations and a bond of mutual sportsmanship have made film sharing a non-issue, particularly in Europe. It seems that IFAF and IFAF Competitions Committee might need to reexamine or clarify their stance on international game film availability before games.

ESPN+ to Broadcast Game Live in Brazil

It was announced on Tuesday that ESPN+ broadcast the IFAF Americas game between Brazil and Panama live to everyone in Brazil. ESPN+ a companion channel to ESPN Brasil where the NFL games are usually broadcast.

ESPN+ BrasilToday, ESPN in Brazil has 12.2 million subscribers. The channel has covered major sporting events, like the 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics; the 1998 and 2006 FIFA World Cup and the 1999, 2003 and 2007 Pan-American Games.

This is a big win for the CBFA and American football in Brazil and will surely bring a huge amount of exposure to the sport across this booming, sports-crazed nation.

John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.