Super Bowl Broadcast Plans Under Way for Deployed Troops
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Jan. 15, 2005 In some parts of America, football is almost a religion. And troops deployed in combat zones will see the High Mass of football the Super Bowl live on the American Forces Network on Feb. 6.
In fact, one of the questions Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld got during a news conference in Kuwait was whether troops would see the Super Bowl.
"American Forces Network is pleased to broadcast the Super Bowl live to everyone in the world on the AFN Prime Service and on our AFN Sports Service," said Larry Sichter, the chief of affiliate relations.
This means troops who don't receive the prime channels will be able to receive the game without having to retune receivers, Sichter said. "We normally carry it on the prime channels and counterprogram on the sports channels," he said. "But this year, primarily because of the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, we're going to be broadcasting the game and pre-game (show) on AFN Sports."
Sailors on ships at sea also will be able to watch the game through the Navy's Direct Sailor Service.
Football junkies will get 13 and a half hours of Fox network Super Bowl programming. And for those who still haven't gotten enough or were on duty, AFN will rebroadcast the game the next day.
The broadcast will not include the commercials an aspect of the game that many people actually enjoy. The affiliates will insert public service announcements and some of the 33 affiliates will broadcast messages to the troops. "We're trying to get some command messages out," said AFN-Iraq Commander Air Force Lt. Col. Doug Smith.
Servicemembers who don't want to watch football also are covered. In the past year, AFN has launched two new services AFNFamily and AFNMovies that won't carry the game.
Coverage in the U.S. Central Command region is almost universal. American Forces Radio and Television Service officials said there are a total of 7,978 decoders in the area. This includes 4,821 in Iraq, 1,062 in Central Asia and around 50 in Djibouti.
Are you ready for some football?