Thursday, February 6, 2014

Botswana’s Super Bowl

Over the weekend I was at a friend’s house and was invited to a Super Bowl party.  “Sure!  What time should I be there?”  “Pre-game starts at 1:30am, so anytime around there should work.”  On second thought, I didn’t feel the need to see the Super Bowl that badly.

Apparently, the Super Bowl is one of very few American sports events broadcast on television here.  But, hey?  Why do we need to watch the American Super Bowl when we have five channels which broadcast 24 hours of our version of the Super Bowl every day?  That’s right, cricket.
I feel like I’ve become much better versed in cricket than before I came here.  I spend countless hours at the gym watching television.  Let me rephrase that: I spend countless hours at the gym on the elliptical. While on the elliptical I am forced against my will to watch television.  What is shown on said television screens? Cricket.  Only cricket. I know, I know, it sounds like a sorry excuse.  I’ve tried reading magazines but find the advertisements distracting.  I can’t read books because apparently my eyes, brain, legs and sense of balance work on the same system, making them unable to work in unison or multitask.  And the sound on my iPhone recently died, so I can’t even listen to music.  Since all the machines are pointed toward the televisions anyway it is hard to not watch.

My gym has three televisions on the wall.  Here’s the thing, they all show cricket, ALL THE TIME.  In a previous post I mentioned how sometimes I will be watching a cricket match on one screen, getting highlights from the same match on the second screen, while the MVP from the match is being interviewed about that same exact match on the third screen.
Now, I should mention here in Botswana we don’t have the fancy commercials you see during the Super Bowl.  Sadly, I still haven’t taken the time to Google the most popular Super Bowl commercials yet.  (I know; That sounds terribly unpatriotic.) But I understand the most popular one had something to do with a dog.  I’m sure it was adorable.  Like I was saying, we don’t have commercials- yet- but we are moving in that direction.  We do however, have corporate sponsorship.  Even for the young ones! 

KFC is the only western fast food chain Botswana.  And it has already started to make kids here loyal customers of the KFC brand by sponsoring elementary school cricket teams.  Research shows that children as young as 3-years-old can identify brand names.  So what better way to make kids loyal customers than to feed their tummies, and their childhood fantasies, of playing in the national Super Bowl?

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