The whole of Spain is football crazy and Gran Canaria is no exception. The main local team is floundering in the lower divisions but everybody on the island supports a top division Spanish team, mostly Madrid or Barcelona (but never Tenerife). If you are walking about in a town and the whole place seems a little deserted the chances are there is a match on and everybody is either at home or in the bars watching it. Other sports, other than cycling, don’t really get a look in unless Spain happens to be winning!
The tourist resorts in the south of the island all have sports bars with huge screens that show all the football from Britain and Germany as well as Spanish matches. Most are plugged illegally into the Sky Sports network so you will even get the commentary from home. You won’t be able to miss the bars with football on as they all have drink offers and match times advertised outside.
If you are outside the resorts and want to watch a game from back home your options are more limited. In Las Palmas ask around close to the beach as a few bars put British games on if there are no Spanish matches at the same time. Otherwise you might have to keep up online or via text message.
You can watch a local Las Palmas game at the brand new and very unpopular stadium in Las Palmas but don’t expect top drawer stuff. The Las Palmas team has gone from low to low and doesn’t look like it is going to recover any time soon. The true fans are still passionate however and important games have a decent atmosphere.
To experience Spanish football fever at its most intense, find a local bar that is showing a Real Madrid or Barcelona game. Get there early for a seat as they fill up fast and people even stand outside to watch the screens through the windows. Everybody has an opinion to share with the rest of the bar and most establishments have a couple of characters who spend the whole match screaming at their team. For maximum intensity wait until Madrid and Barcelona play each other! If you are on the island when either of these teams win an important game expect to be kept up late into the night be beeping car horns and general merriment.
Image: Andrew Marx (sxc.hu)