Bay area sports bars plan to air Comey testimony Thursday

Sports bars in the Bay area are offering specials for the James Comey testimony.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- If you're planning to watch former FBI director James Comey testify in front of Congress tomorrow, you're not alone.

Millions of people say they're planning to catch it on their mobile devices, stream it on their desktops, or maybe even sneak out of the office to hear what Comey has to say about his conversations with President Donald Trump.

We gauged interest on the streets of St. Petersburg.

 “Oh, I'm definitely going to watch it. Yes. Absolutely,” said Marie Sterling.

And Stirling wasn’t alone.

It might not be the Super Bowl or March Madness, but millions of people plan to tune in Thursday.

“I would absolutely watch it,” said Dan Soromen.

“Even if I was at work,” said Jim Powell, who wants to hear Comey speak.

“I'm still going to listen,” said Vel Thompson, who might be tied to her work desk when Comey starts testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee at 10 a.m.

“I want to hear what he has to say,” said Susan Stanforth, visiting from Kentucky.

“I'm sure he's privy to a lot of information that the Americans probably should and want to know,” added Ryan Seals.

It's such a big deal for so many people that Variety magazine and TV Guide have published coverage plans. And the networks themselves have published promotions on how to watch Comey wherever you are. 

“Well, this tells you how big it is, because all the networks are going to air it live tomorrow,” said 10News political expert Lars Hafner.

Hafner says only a handful of congressional hearings have ever gotten that kind of coverage. The McCarthy hearings. Watergate. Iran Contra. Anita Hill and President Clinton's impeachment hearing. 

What’s everyone watching for?

“If ‘obstruction’ comes out of his mouth tomorrow,” said Hafner, “Then we’re going to really see a feeding frenzy.”

Around Washington, lots of bars and taverns are even planning to put politics on the big screens.

"I'm sure you're familiar with watching sports at a bar, but a hearing? #OnlyinDC wrote one Twitter follower.

Well, not only.

“We are committed to it. Sound, TVs. Everything,” said Mark Ferguson, owner of Ferg’s Sport Bar in downtown St. Pete.

Ferg’s plans to air the entire hearing on every TV so people can hear it for themselves. 

“Well, we will have sports on other times. But there is so much controversy around this whole subject,” said Ferguson. “It’s important.”

In fact, several sports bars all over Tampa Bay, plan to show the Comey hearing on at least one of their big-screen TV’s, expecting it will be a big draw with the lunchtime business crowd.

Politics, apparently the ultimate sporting spectacle - when the stakes are this high. 

“It is like the finals. It almost is like a game seven in terms of - where is this going to go?” said Hafner.

 “I think it will be a seminal moment in this man's career,” said Powell. “We'll see what happens.”

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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