Waking up in the wee hours of the morning to watch various games throughout football season is something of a task. It is definitely a time when I truly miss living back in the States. It is probably the only time I ever feel homesick. However, living in South Korea does have some advantages for a sports fan such as myself.
Every single pay-per-view sporting event is televised in Korea, live, and for free. Well, not technically free, as I do pay a monthly cable bill. The sports channel that plays these events is part of my basic cable package (cable + internet = $35, not too shabby). So I get to watch every single UFC/boxing/K-1 and any other MMA event. These events are usually held on Saturday nights in America, beginning around 7:30 pm. This means they are shown live in Korea on Sundays mornings, beginning at 11:30 am. It’s awesome.
The Pacquiao-Hatton fight is the next big event circled on my calendar. This past December, we watched Pacquiao work DelaHoya as if he were a blind sparring partner. Good ol’ Chuck Liddel is slated to take on Mauricio Rua in UFC 97 next month (I love Chuck, but I think this might be the fight to send him into retirement). This has to be one of the greatest perks of living here, outside of the unlimited side dishes at restaurants.
Furthermore, MLB and NBA games are shown here as well. During baseball season, there is a game on everyday. They usually televise a team with a Korean player on the current, or past roster. The NBA games are shown more sporadically. They probably show two games a week. Much to my delight, the Lakers are shown quite a bit.
In regards to the NFL, they show all the Pittsburgh Steelers games because of Hines Ward, who is half-Korean. Ward actually does some local advertising for a large bank here in Korea. They also televise the NFC and AFC Championship games, as well as the Super Bowl.
For a sports nut like me, Korea does a good job of supplying me with a fix. Whatever I can’t score from Korean programming, I can get through my Slingbox or other internet sites. Our current teaching contract ends this September, so I’ll be home just in time for the next football season. While getting free pay-per-view events is cool, it doesn’t compare with being back in San Diego and watching football on a 50″ HD flat screen, hanging with friends and family, and grubbin’ on carne asada fries until a food coma hits. It doesn’t get much better than that.