By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Yesterday (January 3rd) the regular season of the American NFL (National Football League) ended and now the 2016 playoffs start, leading up to the Super Bowl on February 7th. Yet fans should know that this time of year watching NFL games in Brazil is a little more complicated, because the daylight savings time changes in October put Rio three hours ahead of the U.S. Eastern Standard Time (EST).
That makes the 1PM kick-off on the East Coast of the U.S. start at 4PM in Rio, and perhaps more importantly drives the night games into late affairs. Next weekend has a Saturday late game (Steelers and Bengals) which will start at 11:15 PM, and not likely to end before 2AM.
Still the NFL has been easier to follow in Brazil in recent years, as the major Brazilian cable networks are airing more games on their Sports channels, and with new audio technology it is usually possible to switch to the English-language commentary. Also with the high-speed internet connections now available, live streaming options like the the official NFL Game Pass (available outside the U.S.) make it surprisingly affordable.
Still, it is hard to beat watching a game at a bar with old and new friends, and luckily Rio has several options. The best are predictably American-expat owned, like the Blue Agave bars (in Copacabana and Ipanema) and the newly named Lucky Screw American Irish Bar in Copacabana.
Jason Galeria, co-owner of Blue Agave explains, “We are going to have games on at both bars. The playoffs start next weekend and we will have all the games covered between the two bars. […] Blue Agave Copa fills up for playoff football. Even in the last few weeks of the regular season, fans of teams playing pivotal games have been coming to the bar.”
Adding, “Ipanema has the high def channels and Copacabana has the surround sound on for the games, with English commentary. Both bars will be offering food and drink specials, including promotional prices on Mexican beers in Ipanema and spicy barbecue wings in Copacabana!”
Chuck Cassie, Canadian expatriate living in Rio, and managing partner of the Lucky Screw American Irish Pub on Copacabana beach, shares that they will be “Showing the playoff games, obviously, and we will always have one TV on the Red Zone.” Adding their promotion plug of “Sunday Bloody Sunday, buy a burger and get a free Bloody Mary on Sunday until 4PM.”
Another main-stay for watching the NFL in Rio is Shenanigan’s Irish Pub & Sports Bar in Ipanema. The bar was opened over thirteen years ago by a group of American expatriates, but in 2012 was sold to Brazilian owners who fortunately continue to make showing the NFL games a priority.
For those who want to sit outside and watch the games in the shade, then Mab’s on Copacabana Beach is a great option, also owned by an American expatriate. There are also a few other locations that will show NFL games on occasion, such as the Gringo Cafe, Lord Jim’s Pub, Banana Jack’s and the Mud Bug.