To most of Chinese I know, American football is difficult and distant. At Shanghai Scrap, Adam Minter interviews Zhang Nan, Monday Night Football’s play-by-play man in China, who tries his best to engage more Chinese into the sport.
Sure, the NFL has a small audience in China (roughly 20,000 viewers watch the weekly simulcast), but Zhang – as the play-by-play man – has a key role in helping the NFL expand it. And in doing so, it’s partly his responsibility to figure out a way to translate this most American of sports to a Chinese audience that has almost no knowledge or experience with it. The challenge is technical, cultural, and linguistic, and on Wednesday afternoon I spoke to Zhang (to the right of his broadcast partner, Guo Aibing, in the photo below) about how he handles the responsibilities.