Posted: 07 Feb 2010"When millions of Americans gather around their TV sets this weekend for Super Bowl XLIV, they’ll have lots of company from U.S. forces around the world and at sea, thanks to the American Forces Radio and Television Service. AFRTS has been delivering the game live for the past 43 years. The full game, including the pre-game show, will be beamed by satellite to American Forces Network viewers and American Forces Radio listeners in 175 countries and aboard Navy ships at sea, said Larry Sichter, affiliate relations chief for the Defense Media Activity’s AFN Broadcast Center in Riverside, Calif. ... The only thing the overseas viewers won’t get will be about 43 minutes of mostly beer, pizza and insurance commercials. That, explained Sichter, is because AFN is not permitted to air them as a condition of getting the programming free of charge. So in their place, military viewers overseas will see a bevy of encouraging 'shout-outs' from President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and many of the players themselves, as well as some of AFRTS’ newest command information spots. ... Troops overseas have been treated to live Super Bowl broadcasts since the first big game in 1967, initially through short-wave radio broadcasts, Sichter said. Televised Super Bowl coverage was limited at first to videotape copies of the game distributed after the fact to overseas outlets, unless AFN outlets contracted with commercial networks to get the game live. That all changed in 1982, when AFRTS stood up its satellite network, enabling it to provide live Super Bowl broadcasts to all troops overseas." Donna Miles, American Forces Press Service, 5 February 2010.
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