American Football: China wakes up to American football

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The Independent Online

Millions of Chinese people tuned in to catch a glimpse, for the first time, of the Super Bowl live with play-by-play commentary in their own language. It was broadcast on Central Television's cable sports channel, CCTV-5, with an estimated audience of 300 million.

Millions of Chinese people tuned in to catch a glimpse, for the first time, of the Super Bowl live with play-by-play commentary in their own language. It was broadcast on Central Television's cable sports channel, CCTV-5, with an estimated audience of 300 million.

The game's start, 7am local time, precluded most members of the working population from sitting down to watch the New England Patriots beat the Carolina Panthers 32-29.

"If it were on a Sunday, I'd like to watch it. It's fun seeing those guys banging into each other," said Wei Jun, who was on his way to work early and drove his fist into his palm to illustrate. "But like most people, I've got to earn a living."

The game was broadcast to a potential audience estimated by the league at one billion in 229 countries and territories, including China. It was carried in 21 languages, including Arabic, Cantonese, Icelandic, Russian, Serbian and Thai.

For the first time, a crew from China was among the 14 television and radio stations from 10 countries broadcasting the game on site from Houston. The China crew included the Philadelphia Eagles tight-end Chad Lewis, who speaks fluent Mandarin. The Super Bowl has been broadcast annually for years in many regions of China, but never live.

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