A Super Bowl Sunday in the Mountain Kingdom

A Super Bowl Sunday in the Mountain Kingdom

Many of you probably wonder how the rest of the world watches the Super Bowl, especially when it is announced that the game is being watched by countless people in over 200 countries and territories around the world.  Ok, you probably weren’t wondering.  But if you were wondering, I am one of the countless people watching outside the U.S..

I am in Lesotho – “The Mountain Kingdom.”  Lesotho is a small country completely surrounded by South Africa, with a population barely over 2 million.  It is a country ravaged by HIV/AIDS with nearly a quarter of the population suffering with the disease.  Because of this, many here are born with the disease, many contract it in their teens, and many more die before their children grow up, leaving them orphaned.  Despite this devastation, Lesotho is a peaceful, easy-going nation nestled in the mountains of southern Africa.  The entire country sits at least 4,500 ft above sea level making it the country with the highest lowest elevation in the world.  Like Denver, Colorado, a football would travel a lot farther in the air here.  But they don’t have footballs here.  Not American footballs.  Soccer balls and the occasional rugby ball are just about the only balls that fly here.

So how does one get their football fix in the Mountain Kingdom?  ESPN.  That’s right.  The Worldwide Leader does not call itself that for nothing.  ESPN is channel 230 on the local satellite provider and broadcasts a couple of games a week during the season.  But that is the full extent of exclusively American football programming on TV here unless you count SportsCenter (which airs 6ET and 11ET editions live here).  If I want to see more coverage of the Harbaughs and Ray Lewis (and who wouldn’t?), then I have to go to the world wide web.  But there it is harder to find pundits that will yell football platitudes at me in surround sound.

Now, here we are on February 3rd, and I am ready to watch Ravens-49ers in Super Bowl XLVII on channel 230.  Thankfully and mercifully, we watch the CBS broadcast.  The NFL does not tailor its broadcast here for an international audience which is something I appreciate as it means that – despite being an ocean and hemisphere away – I experience the game broadcast no differently than if I were back in the U.S..  Listening to Jim Nantz and Phil Simms call the game is something I enjoy far more now than I ever did before.  The familiarity is nice.  But that is where it ends.

A 6:30pm ET kickoff means a 1:30am kickoff here.  This definitely discourages live Super Bowl parties in Lesotho.  There is an alternative for those that want the community experience of watching the game with friends and strangers.  The U.S. Embassy is hosting a party at 6:30pm….Monday.  Unfortunately, I am the mouse that can’t keep my nose out of the trap.  For me, I struggle to watch a recording of a sporting event I have not watched yet where I know the outcome.  I even struggle to watch a recording even if I don’t know the outcome.

That is why I sit on the couch in our living room, alone, watching the Super Bowl.  Save the pity though.  I can still gorge on wings and snacks (or a bucket of chicken from the KFC nearby).  But I’m not.  It is 1:30am and dinner was pretty stellar tonight.  So my snacks are on the lighter side.

Another major difference is the commercials.  Our breaks are a little different.  Instead of a multi-million dollar Bud ad, we have promos for Spanish soccer and sport fishing.  Instead of a Go-Daddy classic, we have more promos for Spanish soccer and sport fishing.  But bless the internet.  I still am able to watch America’s finest advertising by getting the list of ads and looking them up on YouTube.

So to recap:  football game, CBS broadcast, American commercials via YouTube, 1:30am.

At least the game should end just in time for breakfast.




Author Description

JB Hacking

Add a comment

Comments (1)

  1. mph Monday - 25 / 02 / 2013 Reply
    Doesn't sound half bad!

Add a comment