Trying to watch March Madness in Thailand is an exercise in futility
There are not very many things that I miss about living in the United States but sports is one of them. Try as I may, I simply cannot become interested in the sports that are popular in the expat community here in Thailand. There are a lot of American and Canadians here but we are quite easily outnumbered by the people from other countries such as Australia and the UK.
I have tried to watch soccer and rugby and Australian Football and I have honestly done my best to get interested in these sports and share in my friends' enthusiasm for them but in the end, I don't really care. You don't live a life of being excited about watching American football and basketball and then one day start to love soccer and rugby. It just doesn't work.
Even when I was living in the states, I didn't really get all that excited about regular season basketball and for the most part regular season NFL. The only real exception was college football and I would watch that religiously and even place small wagers on the game with an online betting group just to make the games a bit more interesting to watch. It was never anything major - just like $10 a game or something.
There are enough of us to justify turning on the March Madness games from a business ownership standpoint, but there are a number of reasons why it is nigh on impossible to watch the games here at all.
For one thing, basketball is not popular in Thailand. A few people here and there know who the big stars like LeBron James and Michael Jordon are but they are not at all familiar with the current teams (I'll admit that neither am I) and the networks just don't carry the games for the same reason that trying to watch cricket in the United States would probably be difficult.
I remember once being back in the States and the USA men's team was in the World Cup and most of the bars didn't even have it on. We just don't care about those sports so it is understandable that the reverse would also be true. However, I was going to try to watch the games anyway, at least a few of them, only to discover that even if I could find a bar that would put them on and had the capability of doing so, the likelihood of any of these places even being open is very slim.
Take a look at those start times: 1am, 4am, 6am, and 8am. Bars are very unlikely to feature anything at this time of day other than the 8am game and that would be in a breakfast capacity. Although the rest of the country seems to be the wild west as far as enforcement of bars closing at midnight (which is the law) is concerned but for some reason here in Chiang Mai, this law is pretty strictly enforced.
I also am not really keen on being awake at 4am for any reason - sport or otherwise.
Therefore, and casual basketball fans like myself will probably miss out on all the games this year, except for maybe the final should it be on at 8pm, which i think will be the case.
So that is one of the downsides of living over here if you are a fan of USA sports. We very rarely get any of them at all and when we do they are normally at a really crazy time of the night.
I suppose it is still a pretty great tradeoff though since I get to live in a cheap country that never has winter. Life is all about balance I suppose. If and when I return to live in USA I will probably miss this life, so maybe it is better if I focus on the good aspects for the time being.