UK fans love growing up for the college game


The Georgian football fandom extends beyond the United States border – it’s a global effort.

Every Saturday, Georgia football and college football fans gather to watch their favorite alma maters or teams.

But what you might not realize watching the game from your seat inside Sanford Stadium or your sofa in Marietta is that thousands of fans from all over the world are joining you.

The appeal of college football is growing rapidly outside the United States, so much so that schools now recognize that they have fan bases thousands of miles from the main campus.

So, have you thought about what it’s like to watch the Dawgs outside of Georgia?

Well, that makes life a bit exciting and definitely requires some organization, but in the end, it’s a price to pay for overseas fans. All games are evening and night games for those across the pond.

Given the many other sports that Britons and Europeans might watch – football, tennis, golf, rugby, even the NFL is now played in London. Why would Georgia and college football get on the radar?

College football > NFL

Well, that’s an easy question to answer, and if you’re reading this, you already know the answer.

College football is unlike any other sport on this planet.

The history, culture and intense rivalries – especially in the South are unmatched. The sights, sounds and smells during tailgates are a sight to behold.

To marvel and revel – nothing beats the passion and excitement of an SEC football game played in the fall.

But until recently, people in the UK did not follow college football in large numbers. However, people like me who have traveled to the United States for vacation have started to return with stories of these incredible scenes in cities where professional sports were not the focus.

Yet college football is played in front of 100,000 fans in some stadiums. What was going on in college towns across the country?

That fact was all it took to pique the interest of sports-mad fans looking for something to match their passionate support.

The NFL’s global expansion is well documented. Of course, the NFL has become incredibly popular in the UK, with four regular season games sold out each year in London. So much so that London might just get the expansion team, but college football offers so much more.

Those of the college and Georgia football cult know the NFL is their little brother. Travel to SEC country to see the real deal – the pump and parade of the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party, the Iron Bowl or the craziness and mayhem of the Egg Bowl to get a real taste of football .

Once that college bug bites you, the game is over and there’s no turning back.

Of course, being around 4,000 miles from Athens – Georgia, not Greece, poses challenges. The distance, the two miles but above all the time difference is a real obstacle to watching these Georgia Bulldogs on a Saturday.

How does the college football scene in the UK compare to the way American fans watch a game on a Saturday?

Everyone you meet in the UK will want to talk about the weather. The weather is a topic of national debate, daily – in fact hourly, given how quickly it changes.

This grim reality, especially in the fall, means fans haven’t embraced tailgating over the pond much. Instead, fans will try to find a screen inside to watch it. So if we count the weather as challenge n°1, we quickly arrive at challenge n°2.

How to watch Georgia football in the UK

Unless fans want to fly to Atlanta, which is increasingly the case, the next best option is to find a place to watch the game on TV.

You might be surprised to learn that Georgian football and headline college games are shown on major UK sports channels throughout the season. Both major cable companies dedicate channels to college football on a Saturday, meaning it’s not unusual to have five or six games broadcast live on a Saturday.

Additionally, more and more fans are subscribing to the UK version of ESPN Player, which offers a much wider range of games. This option is also the trick if you want to watch YOUR team on a Saturday because the games scheduled on TV are usually the games you see at home – those broadcast by the major networks and hot tickets in town.

As you can also see, the games are spread over the three main time slots, except that the UK is five hours ahead of Eastern Time. This time difference means that College Gameday kicks off proceedings around 2pm UK time, with the first slate of games starting at 5pm.

These 3:30 p.m. matches are the 8 p.m. prime time matches for us in the UK, and late matches sometimes start after midnight. Yes, college football on a Sunday!

Here’s challenge #3: timing. You must be someone who survives on little sleep or who is going to spend Sundays catching up on lost sleep. Especially if the final game is on the West Coast in PAC12 – heaven forbid Hawaii is playing because it means you go to bed when the others wake up on Sunday morning.

This is where the devoted college football fan is if you’re still watching a game at 7am on a Sunday, and believe me, there are plenty of them!

The best UK bars to watch Georgian football

But what if you are a social animal and want to meet other like-minded fans or even rivals? Fans can head to the good old traditional British pub just like they do in the US.

Unfortunately, finding a drinking establishment that shows American football – NFL or college is still quite difficult, but if you look closely, it is possible.

London is a city with a lot of social life, so it remains the most likely place to find a bar with a screen. The Maple Leaf in Covent Garden is a favorite place for fans of all American sports to congregate on weekends.

Despite its ties to Canada, The Leaf caters to all sports. It’s a more traditional North American sports bar with multiple screens showing baseball, basketball, NFL, and college throughout the weekends.

Located in the heart of London’s West End, it’s a mecca for sports fans, so early seating is essential. The advantage of university games starting in the afternoon is significant in this respect – a place near the screen is guaranteed! Oh, and their food is quite excellent.

London has many other American-style sports bars, such as the Belushi bar on London Bridge – yes, the collapsing London Bridge. The excellent Passyunk Avenue, inspired by Philadelphia, is a fantastic place to catch a game and drink a beer.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t watch a game outside of London. It would be remiss of me not to talk about my hometown and my sports-mad city, Glasgow. Yes, the Scots love their sport and love to drink and eat – a perfect combination for a Saturday afternoon.

Sports bars have embraced the diversity of sports to broadcast on multiple screens and attract a wider clientele. Something you’ve known for decades, but roam the country – Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and you’ll find sports fans trying to persuade the bartender to change the TV channel to college football.

Some alumni hold larger gatherings – Michigan has a large base of alumni in London who hold watch parties, where everyone is welcome, as are fans from Texas. I’m still looking for a Bulldogs encounter, but you’ll already recognize several UK-based Georgia fans on social media.

Of course, nirvana, mecca for college football fans, is to get on a plane and experience what you can all do on a Saturday. Pilgrimage to Athens is a dream for some and an experience for others. Much like anyone attending their first game at Sanford Stadium’s Dooley Field, the experience is magical and sensory overload on the first engagement.

But it is now becoming an affordable option for many UK fans with specialist travel companies arranging trips to the US where fans can watch, say, Georgia on a Saturday and make the short trip to Atlanta to see the Falcons on a Sunday. . Here it is, right there, a very pleasant sports weekend. Although a long way to go, but definitely worth the trip.

Others like me organize their own trips over a longer period and visit more cities and games along the way. The last time I went to Athens for a game coincided with SEC Nation in town, then Tuscaloosa when College Gameday was there, with trips to Gainesville, Baton Rouge, Oxford and Tallahassee in between! It was an unforgettable trip.

So there you have it, following your favorite college football team from afar takes stamina, organization, perseverance, and energy. Like all Bulldog fans, we are one big global Dawg family.

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