Super Bowl watch party draws locals and expats alike

By Thomas Airey 05 February 2019, 12:00AM

For the first time ever, lifelong American football fan Chandé Lutu-Drabble of American Samoa watched the Super Bowl in a foreign country.

Lutu-Drabble (74) has seen every single Super Bowl, from the very first one in 1967 to yesterday’s Super Bowl 53, score etc.

“I am one of the very few females who understands football,” she said.

Lutu-Drabble went to the watch party at Travellers Point in Apia, and said it was cool to share the experience with people who aren’t used to the sport.

“There’s nothing more pleasant than to watch the greatest sport event in America in a foreign country where they live, breathe, eat and sleep rugby.”

She brought her own American Samoan brand of beer to the event.

She said she was pleased to see so many Samoans had also come to the watch party.

“It just goes to show sports is sport, no matter what.

“When you’re a sports fan, I don’t care if I’m in Timbuktu, if I have to watch it with the gorillas, I’ll watch it.”

Lutu-Drabble supports the Oakland Raiders, and believes she is their oldest fan.

“When the Raiders don’t make it I go for the Patriots, and they just happened to make it this year.

“I was hoping the [New Orleans] Saints [would make it in over the Rams] because I was in Louisiana last year and it was a madhouse

“Those people are so passionate.”

She was thankful to Travellers Point and owner Tuala Joe Ponifasio for putting on the event.

Tuala said they have been showing the Super Bowl for the last five years or so.

He said it has been a very popular venue for it in the past, and interest seems to be growing in the sport.

“The game is now being talked about in Samoa.”

Tuala said people were taking time off work especially to watch the game.

“I’ve been getting a lot of calls from friends, to hold their tables and stuff.”

The event was sponsored by Bud Light, which Tuala said was fitting as they are the official beer of the National Football League.

“We want to make it as realistic as we can by creating an American atmosphere.”

SAMPAC Ltd are the distributor for Budweiser and their brands in Samoa, having opened in April last year.

Manager Michael Tolmie said this was their first time getting on board with a Super Bowl event here.

“I know American football’s not really a big thing here, but I think a lot of people understand it and know it.

“We have a bunch of Samoan players that play in the league, so they can kind of associate themselves that way with it.”

He said they hope future Super Bowl events can grow over the next few years, and eventually have watch parties throughout the whole season.

“It’s an opportunity for people to come and try and understand the game, and have a few beers.”

By Thomas Airey 05 February 2019, 12:00AM

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