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Coverage of the big game takes on international flavor

More than 400 credentials were issued to members of the international media. The game will be televised around the world.

By BABITA PERSAUD

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 24, 2001


TAMPA -- George X, as he's known to Televisa viewers back in Mexico, is the wild and crazy sports guy who jumps off buildings and dives with sharks.

And covers the Super Bowl.

Dressed as an American football player complete with helmet, he interviewed the towering Giants "Iron Man" Howard Cross during Media Day Tuesday at Raymond James Stadium.

"The NFL called me up and want me to join the team, what do you think about that?" says George X. (His real name is Jorge Bribiesca).

Cross looks puzzled.

"Oh man, it's kind of late," he says. "Maybe next year."

In countries where soccer is king, you might be surprised at the attention going to the Super Bowl. More than 400 credentials were issued to members of international media to cover the event, from Germany's SAT-1 and Premier World to Denmark's TV-2 to Montreal's La Presse newspaper.

"After the World Cup final in soccer, this is the most-watched sports event in Mexico," said Gerardo Liceaga of Televisa.

Televisa will broadcast live game day, giving play-by-play in Spanish. The game will also be broadcast live in Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Russian.

Japan's Nippon TV, a national network, sent 40 journalists to Tampa, who will feed a daily news show and a variety show called Club T (T is for touchdown). The show's main star "Besho" arrives today.

The station has been covering Super Bowls for 10 years. It is popular among college students, with some teams dating back to 1925, said Sadao Goto, Nippon TV color commentator.

Their audience is 10-million.

But not all the international crews have audiences that high.

In Denmark, TV-2 only will get 1 percent of the population. It will broadcast live, which means kickoff at 12:20 a.m. But the station is going to those lengths because it is new and wants to give the audience, however small, options, said Jimmy Boejgaard.

The Denmark team will also feed daily news reports. The big topic so far has been Ray Lewis.

The journalists work out of the International Compound, a series of trailers, on Raymond James property. They are staying at accommodations arranged with aid of NFL Films, the media branch of the NFL. It's not all work, says Martin Roos, of the German crew, which is staying in apartments in St. Petersburg.

"We have a party room," Roos said. "And an office room."

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