The Defense Media Activity (DMA) and the American Forces Network (AFN) invite audiences to watch the NFL Conference Championships games and Super Bowl XVII on its new video on demand and livestreaming app, AFN Now.
A little over two months after the worldwide launch of AFN Now, and following recent successful tests of the livestreaming function, forces and families living overseas now have free access to live professional sports. The network plans to livestream both NFC and AFC championship games this Sunday, Jan. 29, followed by the Super Bowl on Feb. 12.
DMA Director Hal Pittman said, “DMA is working hard to provide our worldwide audiences with the very best entertainment, news, and sports programming available. The ability of AFN Now to livestream the most popular sports events ensures our military sports fans can catch the action on their schedules. This is a big win for our military and families serving overseas.”
AFN Now audiences have expressed excitement over the new livestreaming feature. The app’s video on demand function also allows viewers to catchup on prerecorded events they may have missed.
“We started with the Australian Open,” said Mike Drumheller, chief of the AFN Broadcast Center in Riverside, Calif. “Audience response was enthusiastic, and our team went to work to acquire the NFL playoffs for AFN Now. It was a process that required the generous support of the National Football League.”
During its 80-year history, AFN has developed strong relationships within the entertainment industry, sports channels, and professional sports leagues. According to Drumheller, those relationships paid off when AFN leadership approached the NFL and other leagues about acquiring live and/or video-on-demand streaming rights.
“We are grateful to our sports industry partners for adopting our newer distribution platforms to keep AFN’s audiences entertained throughout the hardships that come while serving outside the United States,” said Chief Master Sergeant Jason David, DMA’s Command Senior Enlisted Leader. “Negotiating these digital broadcast rights to high-value sports programming demonstrates their support to U.S. service members around the world and all they do for our country.”
AFN has a large following of sports fans. In addition to the NFL, AFN was able to secure digital rights for Australian Open tennis and several X-Games. Agreements with other major league sports are ongoing and will result in even more streaming or video-on-demand sports on the AFN Now app shortly.
Kimberly Antos, the network’s chief of digital platforms and AFN Now, says the AFN team has developed new techniques for streaming live sports matches via the AFN Now app. The first NFL games on AFN Now took hours to digitally process and make available as video on demand.
“Our audiences want live sports,” said Antos. “Delivering what our audiences want is important to us. Most of the AFN staff have also served overseas and know how important sports are to the morale and quality of life of our service members. AFN’s motto, ‘We Bring You Home,’ motivates us to provide the best programming and streaming experience possible.”
The AFN Now app is available to service members, families, and retirees living overseas. The AFN Now app is free to download and provides audiences convenient access to their favorite AFN entertainment, news, and sports programming. The app is easy to download, and users can register at https://afn-now.myafn.mil/.
The app is only available to DOD-affiliated audience members outside of the United States, its territories, and its possessions. Everyone registering for the service must pass Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) verification before the app will work.
The app is available on Apple iPhones, iPad and Apple TV, Android phones, Android TV and tablets, next-gen gaming systems and in-home digital media platforms Amazon Fire, Roku, and smart TVs with app functionality. In future development phases AFN plans to include Xbox and PlayStation gaming consoles.
AFN Now builds on and continues the rich legacy of AFN and is its biggest technological leap since the network began satellite-delivered television in 1997. AFN Now advances DMA’s goals of providing audiences worldwide with the highest quality American programming and information.
DMA is the parent organization for military-produced media brands, including AFN, the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS), Defense.gov, the military service websites and news services, as well as publications like All Hands and Airman magazine.
For more information, to include programming and schedules, please visit MyAfn.net. Or contact the American Forces Network at firstname.lastname@example.org.