PYEONGCHANG, South Korea -- It was "Super Bowl Monday" here in PyeongChang on the first day of the working week.
On a frigid morning in the mountains in the eastern part of South Korea on Monday, fans of American football got to watch the sport's biggest annual event in the comfort of the PyeongChang press center -- with some free snacks to boot.
If you were in PyeongChang to cover the 2018 Winter Olympics or if you were working behind the scenes to organize the event, and you were desperate to catch some action from the Super Bowl LII, then the Main Press Centre was the place to be.
PyeongChang hosted a watch party for the game between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. The kickoff in Minneapolis was at 8:30 a.m., Korean time.
|International journalists and Olympic officials gather around the big screen at the Main Press Centre for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, to watch the Super Bowl LII between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles, on Feb. 5, 2018. (Yonhap)|
National Football League fans, and even some curious onlookers, gathered around the giant screen set up on the second floor of the MPC. PyeongChang also offered complimentary snacks -- sandwiches, fries, chicken wings, nachos, juice and coffee.
No alcohol flowed, given the time of the day here, but that didn't keep these fans -- about 50 from the media, the International Olympic Committee and the Olympic workforce -- from enjoying a morning break, a rarity in their busy schedules covering or working for the Olympic Games.
Bruce Arthur, a sports columnist for the Toronto Star, has covered the Super Bowl for his newspaper in the past, but said he prefers watching it without having to stress over a deadline.
"I am fine with watching it 8:30 in the morning," he said. "I have no guilt over this work-wise."
Aaron Bauer, an American journalist for the Olympic news site Around the Rings, said it was "weird" watching the Super Bowl this early in the morning, and on a Monday at that.
"Super Bowl Sunday is when the game is on, when many people have a party, people get together, hang out with families and friends, spend a lot of time dedicated to watching this game. It's kind of a major cultural event in America," Bauer said. "Being on the other side of the world, 14 hours ahead from where I live, getting up early and watching on Monday, it's cool watching this game in a different time than normal."
The NFL has tried to take its game globally, with exhibition and regular season games in places like London, Tokyo, Mexico City, Berlin and Sydney.
Matt Bartolo from the Australian Olympic Committee is among the NFL fans from Down Under.
"I like American football. For some five to 10 years, American football has been gaining popularity in Australia," said Bartolo, who supports the Pittsburgh Steelers, which have an Australian punter Jordan Berry.
The NFL, though, has to try harder to make its game prominent in Australia.
"Some (Australian) players are playing in the NFL," Bartolo said. "Still, rugby and soccer are much more popular than American football." (Yonhap)