Sports are cool because no matter where in the world you travel, every city is passionate about their teams. However, all sports differ in popularity. If you only follow American sports, then you might notice when you go to Barcelona, not one person will know that Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals is on, but EVERYONE can give you a verbal play by play on the latest FC Barcelona match.
Here are some things an American sports fan should know when living in Barcelona:
1. FC Barcelona is everything.
European soccer is everything for any European country, actually. And if you don’t want to stand out like me, call it football…not soccer. Unlike the United States who has sports media coverage constantly for the four major leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL), Spain mainly focuses on professional football clubs. Spain is home to the world’s two best and richest soccer teams, Barcelona and Real Madrid. These teams are also huge rivals, so passion for the Barcelona team runs deep throughout the city. In only two weeks, I have probably seen close to a thousand Lionel Messi jerseys around the city. Safe to say the Barcelona locals are serious fans.
2. If you want to watch a live American game, don’t expect to sleep that night.
Barcelona is six hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone, so any major game event in the United States won’t be on until 2 or 3 a.m. in Barcelona. So if you plan on staying up for a game, plan on getting about two to three hours of sleep after the game before you have to get up for class. During my first two weeks here, both the NHL and NBA finals were happening. There are a few local bars and restaurants that will show the games, but if you want to stream the game on your laptop, it’s going to take some effort. Most of the streams I would normally use back home were blocked internationally, so depending on what you want to watch, you may have to make a purchase.
3. You will probably see American sports represented.
Just like how you see the occasional person wearing a European soccer jersey in America, many people in Barcelona also wear American sports apparel. Yes, some of these people may be tourists, but some locals wear them as well, a lot of them being kids. Many of the best athletes in the world play for teams in the United States, so it makes sense that kids would look up to them. Because of this, you will most likely only see the overly popular teams represented, like Yankees hats and Bulls jerseys. Especially during the NBA finals, I saw more LeBron and Steph Curry jerseys around than I had expected.
The world awaits…discover it.