NFL Becoming a passion in Brazil, but Keeping Fans Up at Night!

Photo: Denis Barbosa

The popularity of American football and the NFL has grown tremendously in Brazil.

Over the past 3 years, the huge television and online audience has surprised everyone not involved with the sport.

Living in a country where soccer is the great passion, and with the NFL regular season starting weekend fast approaching, a Brazilian NFL fan suffers in wait for the days and times of the games.

In Brazil, the soccer games are traditionally broadcast on Wednesdays nights and Sunday afternoons.
So they have to adapt to the NFL days and times and this is the first issue that a fan in Brazil has to overcome.

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Even the waitresses get into the game in Rio

Another issue, the biggest one, is the difference in times. After week 5, in October, the time zone difference is 3 hours. So a Monday Night Football game, starts at 11:30 PM in Brazil and ends at around 2:30 AM.

That issue affects the life of the fans. Usually a Brazilian worker starts his day at 7 in the morning. If he wants to watch the whole game, he is going to have around 3 or 4 hours of sleep.

Rafael Almeida, who is entering his second season as an NFL fan, says that he usually doesn’t watch the full games:

“It’s complicated, the best games are on Sunday and Monday nights, but here it goes through the dawn. I have to wake up early in the morning to go to work, so it is impossible to watch all the game.”

But this is not a problem to everyone. Plínio Souza, a student who loves the Green Bay Packers says it’s worth it:

“My parents already know, once September arrives I do not go to bed at night and look like a zombie at the next day at school. But our deal is my grades, I have to be great in school or it means no football for me!”

Brazilian students start their day in the classroom at 7 a.m.

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Pubs and bars attract late night NFL fans in Brazil

The internet brings the news faster than ever before, so if you stop watching in the middle of a game, you are going to see some spoilers the next day! Arthur explains:

“If I do not watch the game until the end, the next morning I will know the final score on my cell phone on Facebook, Twitter or even from my friends. So I don’t want to watch the rest of the game knowing the final score! That means that I have to keep awake during the game!”

That is the dilemma for Brazilian fans of the NFL. There is nothing they can do about it. It is up to every individual.

There are those who stay awake and go to work/school after few hours of sleep and there those who prefer to watch only the initials snaps and read about the performance of their favorite teams the next day on special websites.

Nevertheless, according to the media, the number of fans in Brazil is growing fast so the time difference does not seem to affect the passion and loyalty of Brazilians who are embracing their new favorite sport.

Felipe is the marketing manager for a local Brazilian TV station but passionate about American football. He worked in sports marketing in Toronto before returning to his native Brazil. He writes a weekly column about the NFL in Football