>> Friday night lights were scarce in China a few years ago, but with young Chinese getting hooked on the NFL, Semi-Pro American football games are getting popular, and fast. Eight years ago, there were only two adult teams. One in Beijing and one in Shanghai. Now, there are dozens across the country.
The Shenyang Hunters are one of those teams here to face off against the Shanghai Stray Cats who've never lost a game.>> I'm in Shanghai at the City Bowl finals. China's very own Super Bowl. For the players here, this is the biggest game of their lives. But unlike in the US none of the athletes here are getting paid.
Instead, they end up having to pay to trouble the games like this one, and cover the costs of equipment and facilities. Since football won't likely become an Olympic sport, it doesn't receive any government support. Most of the Hunters had never even seen an American football match before a few years ago, let alone play a game.
Their first season was in 2014, and now they've got around 70 players from age 16 to 44. Most have a day job, but they train twice a week on a field they rent themselves.>> My parents are on-board now but in the beginning they were up against it.
They said I wasn't young anymore and could get injured. Maybe they gave up after they realized they couldn't really stop me. Despite the risk of injury and lack of funds, coaches say players make up for it in sheer enthusiasm.>> When you compare to the US or other countries that have been playing that sport for a long time, it's not a fair comparison.
The longer you play the sport the more natural your body is to your mind about seeing things and getting the things. And it takes time to develop that.>> Even after all the hard training, the Hunters lost to the Stray Cats 12 to 24 in the final. But with any luck, they would turn to City Ball next year