Early-morning showing of Super Bowl still draws hundreds to Taipei bars
CNATAIPEI, Taiwan -- Hundreds of local and foreign fans packed into Taipei's sports bars Monday to watch the Super Bowl game between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers, which the Ravens eventually won.
February 5, 2013, 12:14 am TWN
As early as 5 a.m. (Taipei time), some fans had lined up in front of The Brass Monkey, one of the most popular sports bars in Taipei, to secure a seat for the live broadcast of the championship game of the National Football League, the highest level of professional American football in the United States.
Shortly after the game kicked off at 7:30 a.m., the 100-plus fans who had squeezed into the bar broke into cheers for the Ravens when the team scored a touchdown.
The Ravens were playing well, said John Dangola, a New Jersey native. He told CNA that he was impressed by the team's defense.
Dangola, who has been working in Taiwan for two years, said he watches the Super Bowl every year. He said he took the morning off Monday to watch the game.
Another Ravens supporter Lucas Fortier, an American who is studying Mandarin in Taipei, expressed optimism about the team's chances.
“I'm in a good mood” because the team “is winning,” he said.
However, supporters of the 49ers seemed to be not as confident.
“I'm nervous,” said Johnny Wang, an American-born Taiwanese who has been in Taiwan for 10 years, after the first half of the game.
Wang, who was dressed in the 49ers red jersey, said he watches the Super Bowl every year.
According to the staff of The Brass Monkey, some 170 fans were at the bar to watch the game.
This is close to double the number of customers on a regular weekday, said Max Murphy, owner of the bar.
Meanwhile, at the Tavern-Premier Sports Bar, about 70 fans gathered to watch the live broadcast from the Superdome in New Orleans.
A fan who identified himself as Dave from Houston said it was the first time he was watching the game in Taiwan.
“This is a good crowd. I did not know they get into football that much here,” said Dave, who is in Taiwan on business trip. “I enjoy this. It's more like it is back home in the U.S. Everyone cheers very loud.”
Vivian Chiu who was at the bar with her husband said she was rooting for the Ravens.
“I'm sweating. I'm very nervous,” she said.
Chiu said she and her husband watched the game at home last year, but decided to go to a sports bar this year because it is more exciting.
“You cheer alone when watching the game at home, but here a whole row of people cheer with you,” she said. Chiu, 25, said she loves American football because “it's fun to see people push and shove each other.”
Kim Jiang, manager of the Tavern-Premier, said that the number of fans in her sports bar this year was about 30-percent less than last year.
“This year, there are not as many people as we had expected,” she added. She noted, however, that the Super Bowl was played during the Lunar New Year holiday last year, while it is on a working day this year.
Jiang said the World Cup and other major soccer events usually attract the biggest crowds. The World Cup would draw 200-300 people, she said, adding that many who come to watch the Super Bowl are from the United States and Britain.
Jiang's view was also shared by Murphy, who said the soccer games usually draw more people to his bar.
The Ravens dominated the first half of the game and managed to shake off a dramatic 49ers comeback in the second half, to win the Super Bowl 34-31.