ABU DHABI // In the early hours of tomorrow, while most of us are asleep, many UAE sports fans will be glued to their television sets watching the biggest event on the American football calendar. The Super Bowl, which this year sees the New Orleans Saints square up to the Indianapolis Colts, kicks off at 3.25am UAE time, and fans from several countries will be up, bleary-eyed, to catch the game.
Noam Franklin, 28, a Canadian who works for Aldar Properties, hopes to see the game at a friend's villa. "It's the biggest North American event," he said. "Even people who don't like football [watch it for] the spectacle. I've got friends who don't even know the teams [who watch it]." Mr Franklin is not a regular supporter of either the Saints or the Colts, but wants the New Orleans team to triumph, as the city suffered badly in Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Danni Harrison, an American housewife in her mid-30s, will get up to tape the game so she and her husband, Nate, and up to 10 friends can watch it at their house in Abu Dhabi in the evening. "It's what we do in the States. We get together and have munchies and drinks and yell at the television for a few hours," she said. Some enthusiasts are yet to decide whether to set their alarm early. Among them is Dubai-based Bob Cryan, an associate provost at Zayed University, who two years ago hosted a Super Bowl party for 25 people at his home in the United States.
"It's a wonderful social event, it's definitely a crazy thing," Dr Cryan said. "There is a significant portion of the population in America that's football crazy. "That group of people are rabid, and they attentively watch and have parties with people at home, with people playing games of chance to guess the scores." Dr Cryan said it was "too bad" the game was in the middle of the night. "I'm trying to decide if I'm going to do it or not," he said. "There will be replays and you can get it online. It's a bad alternative, but it might be better for us."
But whether they watch it live or recorded, North American fans will enjoy much more than an exciting sporting event. "It's a sense of being home, a reminder of where you come from," said Mr Franklin. "I watch baseball games and hockey games because you're at home for that short period of time." @Email:email@example.com