ESPN salutes troops with visit to Kuwait
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait — Sports fans, your week is here.
ESPN’s daily news program SportsCenter will be broadcast live next week from Camp Arifjan.
“The only reason we’re here is to ‘salute the troops’ and bring them a bit of Americana,” said ESPN senior coordinating director Dave Weiler.
“Salute the Troops” week includes five live SportCenters, complete with military and civilian members in the audience, and reports from most of Kuwait’s military bases.
“Other than a USO tour, I can’t think of an event where an organization brought their entire show to such an austere environment,” said Maj. Larry Crowl, operations officer for Coalition forces Land Component Command public affairs.
Weiler said there will be plenty of familiar faces for regular SportsCenter viewers. Anchors Steve Levy, Kenny Mayne, Stuart Scott, and reporter Lisa Salters all are in Kuwait.
Some new faces are expected on the set, however. Crowl said soldiers will take part in some shows. Soldiers also helped ESPN staff come up with an appropriate “look” for the Kuwait shows.
Camp Arifjan’s SportsCenter will feature corner defensive bunkers and sand-bagged anchors’ desks.
Though the look is different, don’t expect any differences in coverage, Weiler said.
“We’re not changing the philosophy of the show,” he said. “Viewers at home won’t miss out on anything they’d expect.”
Nor will military members assigned to other Kuwaiti camps miss out. Busloads of them are being brought to Arifjan for the live shows and SportsCenter personnel will be filming at many of the major Kuwaiti bases.
Military members said they’re looking forward to SportsCenter’s broadcasts.
“It should be pretty exciting,” said 1st Infantry Division soldier Spc. Sergio Gasca of Company A, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry regiment.
SportsCenter’s visit coincides with the redeployment of about 2,000 1st ID soldiers from Iraq to their Fort Riley, Kan., base.
“I didn’t really expect it,” said Gasca. “Coming from up there I really didn’t expect anything, except just trying to get home.”
In the meantime, SportsCenter is trying to bring a little bit of home to them.
“Our main goal is to bring a piece of America to these guys,” Weiler said.
Live from Kuwait
Military viewers throughout the world will be able to watch both live and taped ESPN programming from Kuwait next week.
The highlight of the coverage will be five live broadcasts of their late-night SportsCenter news program, but there also will be at least two other live events and other recorded segments. These recorded segments will be broadcast on other SportsCenter newscasts throughout the day.
All live events will be broadcast on the American Forces Network’s Sports channel.
Live broadcasts, which are shown in Kuwait and Eastern U.S. time, are:• Tuesday morning, Sept. 14, 9-10 a.m. (2 a.m. Eastern), SportsCenter from Camp Arifjan;• Wednesday through Saturday, Sept. 15-18, 8-9 a.m. (1 a.m. Eastern), SportsCenter from Camp Arifjan.
— Stars and Stripes