Earlier this week we published a roundtable article with fans of the Green Bay Packers who live outside the U.S. to get a feel for how they watched football. With the dialogue being pretty long, we decided to split the article up in half. In this section, our panel of fans discussed sacrifices they've had to make in order to watch the Packers play, and how much Twitter has impacted their experience.
Here is the list of fans that were assembled for the panel. If you have any follow up questions for a specific person, you may click on their individual name and it will head to his or her Twitter account:
Mark Gurgeon, London, England
Adam Nicholls, Weston Super Mare, England
Mauricio Torales, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Wayne Scullino, Sydney, Australia
Joanna Meilleur, London Ontario, Canada
Andrew Vavasour, St. John's, Canada
Mark Tone, Toronto, Canada
APC: Have you had to make any type of sacrifices as a fan due to time differences in order to keep up with the team? (Staying up extremely late, missing work, etc.)
Gurgeon: I almost always watch the game unless it's a Sunday or Monday Night one, in which case it's just a bit too late. However for the playoff games, I will rearrange my sleep schedule as needed. For example, for the 2012-‘13 Divisional game against the 49ers, I went to bed at 8:00 p.m., and got up at 1:00 a.m. and then went back to bed after the game ended. However, I didn't sleep much after the game due to horror visions of Kaepernick sprinting past our defense.
Nicholls: Late nights are a given if the Packers are playing on prime time TV in the U.S. This means going to bed around 04:30 and being up for work two hours later.
Meilleur: No. Ontario only differs by one hour from Wisconsin, so watching a game is never an issue time wise. If time were to be an issue, I would stay up no matter what. The season is too short to miss a single pass by Aaron or catch by Jordy.
Torales: Sometimes. When Packers games are on Sunday or Monday Night Football, and Thursday Night Football, it's tough because they end late at night, and the next day I have to work or go to college.
Vavasour: The night games come on (and finish!) a little later than I like. We are 2.5 hours behind Central time where I live. Other than that, no impact.
Scullino: I always stay up late or get up early for the game. Always! Come playoffs when the games are Monday mornings Australia time, I take the day off from work. I take every Super Bowl Sunday (usually 10 a.m. Monday morning) off, regardless of who's playing. In 2007, I quit my job, sold my house, and my wife and I, with our two very small children, moved to Green Bay. I went to every single one of the Packers' game that season. From Week 1 at Lambeau against Philly - Mason Crosby's first professional game where he kicked the game winner with time expiring -- to the snow bowl Divisional playoff game against Seattle, to the NFC Championship game against New York the year they went on to beat the undefeated New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. I saw Brett break the wins, touchdowns, completions and yardage records in person. In 2010 I went the Super Bowl, on my own, to watch the Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. I cried my eyes out! I flew into Dallas with no friends, no car, and no ticket to the game. I sorted all of that out very quickly!
APC: The Packers typically play early on Sundays; when they do, are you able to watch them play live?
Gurgeon: Yup. It's the best time for me since the game starts at 6:00 p.m.
Nicholls: Either live on Sky Sports, or if they don't select our game, live through the iPad on NFL Game Pass.
Meilleur: Yes, we watch each and every game no matter what time they air, or where we happen to be. I watched us win the Super bowl in a seedy pub in Toronto because it was close to the hotel I was staying in during a business trip. My husband travels a lot, and the first question on his lips when he gets off the plane is always "what's the score?"
Torales: Yes, always, without a problem.
Vavasour: I don't normally watch the game live but that is more a factor of having two young children. Generally, I PVR the game and watch it a little later while skipping the commercials and half time (especially if it is the early Sunday game). Late or night games I generally watch live. Fantasy football complicates this as well since I am very active in a few fantasy leagues and have to be careful not to catch the score of the Packers game before I have had a chance to watch.
Scullino: Yep, NFL Game Pass means I can watch them anywhere, any time.
Tone: Because we are on EST, we are able to catch all NFL games at the same time. I never miss any games unless it's a west coast team playing at 1:00p.m., then those games aren't televised nationally here or you have to go to a bar that has the all the games playing.
APC: Can it be frustrating trying to keep up everything team-related while in another country? If so, how?
Gurgeon: No, a combination of APC, NFL.com, Packers.com, Twitter, and other (inferior!) Packers fan-sites makes it's pretty easy to keep in touch. I was on Twitter at the time that Peppers' signing was announced and my comments/gloating at Bears fans blew up and my retweets were the highest I've ever had.
Nicholls: It used to be frustrating when we received less TV coverage, but with NFL Game Pass -- which also has Red Zone and the NFL Network on it -- it's fairly easy to keep up to date.
Meilleur: No, it's not difficult to keep up on team-related issues. I stay connected at all times by subscribing to various Packer and NFL websites and other media.
Torales: No, I think that in the last few years that has changed. Now -- in the "new era" -- with all the social networks it's so easy to keep notice about the Packers. But, it's true that now more than before these social networks are always depended on for sports news on TV, or while during the games.
Vavasour: Three years ago I would have said yes to this question. However, since Twitter has developed into the news delivery engine that it is today, I have no problem staying on top of the latest breaking news. The Packers continue to get no local coverage and very limited national coverage here in Canada, so I turn to Twitter. I use Green Bay area newspaper websites and blogs to get my team related info.
Scullino: Sometimes. Having lived there, I know I'm missing things like The Mike McCarthy Show, Larry McCarren's Locker Room, Inside the Huddle and everything that happens at the atrium, etc. The internet gives you all you need to know, though. Just as long as you know where to look.
Tone: I manage being a Packers fan in Toronto by showing great patience. They're not very popular up here because they don't have flashy players who make national news outside of Aaron Rodgers.
APC: How much has Twitter helped you stay up to date on the team, interact with players, and talk with other fans?
Gurgeon: For keeping up-to-date, a heck of a lot. I've found lots of the fan-site writers/beat reporters to be very quick to update news. I haven't interacted with the players too much, but was stoked when Ahman Green retweeted and followed me. What a guy! And I engage in some fan chat both with U.S. and UK-based Packer fans.
Nicholls: I think Twitter is great for interacting with the fans more than the players. I know it's a cultural difference, but I note a lot of players are very religious with their tweets and that will make me unfollow. So I use it to interact with fans and it's great.
Meilleur: I love Twitter! I feel like I'm part of a big world-wide Packers family. When I first opened my Twitter account, I began following a few Packer Fans and before long I had connected with many fans mostly in the Green Bay area, but also with fans around the world. We all feel free to express our opinions and sometimes we disagree, but nothing beats the high you feel when the Pack win a tough game and our Twitter feeds blow up with expressions of our shared joy and elation. And when we lose...well, our Twitter feed blows up with our mutual disappointment. But we stick together. Just like the Pack, we're a team, we're family.
Torales: I mostly interact with other fans from the U.S. or UK, and a few from Latin America. Of course sometimes I retweet the players, news about the Packers, or other things like that.
Vavasour: I am much more of a Twitter lurker than an active user. I prefer to manage my follow list with who is giving me the best information on the subjects I enjoy (mostly Packer football). I may interact with the players if they are having a contest or something similar, but I am certainly not asking them for a retweet for my birthday!
Scullino: My only guaranteed Twitter time, is game time. I can watch and communicate with 1,000-odd other Packer fans. That said, Twitter can be a hindrance too. There's too many people saying the same thing. When you follow 1,200 Packer fans, every play gives you 100 different opinions. It can be tough to follow, but I wouldn't watch a game without it.
Tone: With social media it's rather easy to follow all things Packers related. I find websites like JS Online, Bleacher Report and Acme rather useful as well with their articles.
APC: Is there anything else people should know about how you manage being a Packers fan in another country?
Gurgeon: I don't think so. It's far easier now than it was in 1982 when you only found out about the scores one-week after the game took place!
Nicholls: I think that U.S.-based Packers fans should realize their unique franchise has support across the globe, and although maybe American Football is very much a minority sport here in England, our fans due to the nature of soccer fandom for many, are very much geeks when it comes to learning about the game. So the old stereotypes no longer fit. The Packers are probably lined up to play the Jacksonville Jaguars here in 2016, so come along and enjoy the city of London and enjoy the game. A short weekend in Green Bay with flights and hotel plus game tickets costs about £1000.
Meilleur: Being a Packer fan in Canada, I feel like being one of the chosen. It feels special, unique. I feel proud. When anyone asks about why I love the team, I always take the opportunity to tell them about the history of the Pack and how they represent so much more than just a football team.
Torales: It would be interesting if the NFL provided t-shirts for the teams to the stores in other countries. Mainly because we only have the possibility to buy online on the NFL store, but here, neither Reebok nor Nike have a single t-shirt of any team in the NFL.
Vavasour: The key to my enjoyment of Packer football is that I have a couple of friends that are huge fans as well. We have gone to road games together and generally watch the games together when possible. Living in a land where Hockey is No.1, No.2 and No.3, it's the thing people mostly talk about. Seeking out and finding other hardcore fans is a great way to stay engaged.
Scullino: I wear Packers gear all the time. As I type this I have a Packers t-shirt on, underneath an Ashwaubenon Jaguars (local high school team) hoodie. There is always a desire to head back to Green Bay. Always. It's like our second home. Both my wife and I yearn for it. We will again one day. The other thing is that here -- 10,000 miles away from Lambeau -- you appreciate all NFL fans, regardless of who they support. NFL fans are rare in Australia. I'll talk to a Bears or Vikings fan all day long if I could. I might not come across another one for months.
We hope these posts were able to add a little bit of perspective to us as fans here in the U.S. Apologies to any of our readers from outside the U.S., as we could only interview so many people. If you have any interesting or crazy stories about watching football from another country, please share them in the comments below.