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The Premier League Title Race the Whole World Is Watching

WorldThe Premier League Title Race the Whole World Is Watching

Muktita SuhartonoElian PeltierShawna Richer and

Elian Peltier tracked Arsenal in West Africa, Muktita Suhartono watched Liverpool in Bangkok and Shawna Richer was with Manchester City fans in Toronto.

The teams might bear the names of English towns, the stadiums might sit on English soil and the stands might still be primarily filled with English fans, but the Premier League slipped its borders long ago. The world’s most popular sports league has, for some time, been a global soccer competition that just happens to be staged in England.

This season has crystallized that perfectly.

For the first time in a decade, three teams — Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City — remained in contention to win the championship as the season entered its final weeks. The fates of those teams have not simply had an impact on anxious, ardent fans in London, Liverpool or Manchester. Their results have been followed just as avidly in North America, Africa, Asia and countless other places, where fans rise early, stay up late and seek out any screen they can to follow their teams.

Last weekend, with the three contenders playing across two days, The New York Times asked reporters and photographers to track fans watching in Bangkok; Lagos, Nigeria; and Toronto. They delivered a snapshot of the true reach of a product that may be modern Britain’s greatest cultural export.

In the corner of the bar, Arthit Thepbanchornchai and Thanaporn Saneluksana had their eyes glued to the screen. Ordinarily, they would be surrounded by like-minded Liverpool fans — some Thai, some foreign — but tonight they were almost alone. Everyone else, it would seem, had given up hope.

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