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WASHINGTON — AFN viewers will get to see all of the on-field festivities this Super Bowl Sunday, but will have to go searching for one of the biggest off-field attractions of the day.

For advertisers, the Super Bowl has become their championship, too — the one time of year viewers stay glued to their televisions during commercial breaks. This year firms will shell out $2.6 million for each 30-second spot, according to media reports.

But contractual obligations prohibit AFN from showing commercials except Defense Department-produced information spots during television programs they relay overseas. No exception is made for the much-anticipated Super Bowl commercials, according to Larry Sichter, AFN chief of affiliate relations.

“The government can’t associate itself with particular sponsors,” he said. “If we were to do that, we’d be affiliating ourselves with a particular advertiser.”

In the past, AFN has been able to carry the Super Bowl commercials a day later in the form of a television special produced by U.S. networks.

But Sichter said that this year no networks are producing such a show.

“If someone does put together a show, we’d run it,” he said. “But we can’t just run the commercials during the game like they do in the States.”

Victor Munoz, a retired Army first sergeant working in Iraq as a contractor, brought up the issue of overseas viewers missing out on the Super Bowl commercials in a letter to Stars and Stripes last week.

He said while many troops and contractors he works with are excited to see the game, they wish they could get the full experience, even if they had to wait a day or two to see the commercials.

“It would be nice to share some laughs with your fellow men and women,” he said. “It’s a shame that the NFL will not be producing something, especially now that additional soldiers will be sent to answer the call of our commander in chief.”

AFN will run a special on the top Super Bowl commercials of all time leading up to the big game. And overseas viewers will be able to view some of the funniest and most-talked about spots of Super Sunday at an AOL site specifically dedicated to Super Bowl Commercials: http://sports.aol.com/nfl/ superbowlads

Several firms, including Anheuser-Busch, also are promising to post their ads online as the big weekend approaches.


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