While it’s strictly played in the United States with a huge majority of the participants sporting American passports, the Super Bowl has long been a global event celebrated by hundreds of countries.
According to the NFL, FOX’s broadcast will reach 198 countries and territories in more than 25 languages. Media from 24 countries will provide on-site coverage, and more than 100 stations are broadcasting live from Radio Row at the Super Bowl Media Center in New York’s Times Square.
In previous years, the NFL counted countries and territories reached by the Armed Forces Network, which broadcasts to American troops overseas and pushed the total countries well past 200. Military servicemen will still able to watch on Sunday, according to the NFL, but the league decided this year to only count countries where everyone could watch, not just AFN viewers.
Super Bowl XLVIII’s matchup between the AFC’s Denver Broncos and NFC’s Seattle Seahawks will likely continue the NFL’s trend of television ratings dominance, as Forbes believes the game could break the all-time record set in 2012 by the New York Giants and New England Patriots.
Citing fan interest in Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, a rare matchup between the league’s two best teams, along with intrigue about how cold weather conditions might affect the game, Seattle and Denver could push past the 111.3 million viewers mark set two years ago.
Sunday will be just the second time in 20 years that the teams with the two best records in their respective conferences have met in the championship game.
The Super Bowl has also typically been played in warm weather cities, and Sunday marks the first time it will be played outdoors in a cold weather city.
Throw in Manning’s record-breaking year of 55 touchdown passes and 5,477 yards passing for Denver’s all-time best offense, and the NFL could surpass its wildest ratings expectations.
Over the last four years, more than 100 million viewers have watched the Super Bowl and the streak is expected to continue in 2014. The Super Bowl joins the series finale of “M.A.S.H.” as the only programs to surpass the 100 million mark.
While a huge majority of the viewers will be watching in the U.S., the NFL could enjoy a surge from overseas as well.
The league has reached out to Europe in recent years with regular-season games played at Wembley Stadium in London. Three NFL games will be played at Wembley in 2014.
There has also been speculation that London could receive an NFL expansion team.