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AAFES is joining with NBC to provide streaming coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics to the military community worldwide at no cost.
AAFES is joining with NBC to provide streaming coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics to the military community worldwide at no cost. (Wikicommons)

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — The live-streaming video access of the Summer Olympics being made available for the first time to military personnel and their families won’t extend to those living off base overseas because of restrictions on broadcasting rights, officials said.

When Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials announced earlier this month that the Exchange had joined with NBC and other telecommunication providers to bring live streaming of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro to military households worldwide, they noted that “content rights restrictions” would apply to some overseas locations.

There are no restrictions on access to the live streaming by servicemembers, retirees and their families living stateside.

In response to questions from Stars and Stripes, AAFES spokesman Chris Ward on Wednesday clarified that “those living off base are not able to stream the Olympics when stationed” outside the United States.

In overseas locations, the “on-installation requirement exists since other TV networks in countries worldwide own broadcasting rights covering their geographies,” he said.

Those receiving internet service on base by the Exchange through a contracted provider remain eligible for the streaming, Ward said. “Those networks under control of the Exchange were able to be white-listed by NBC through known IP addresses.”

“This program required development of a technical solution meeting NBC requirements legally protecting Olympics content and broadcasting rights,” he added. “It is being provided worldwide to as many locations as technically possible while ensuring broadcasting rights.”

NBC holds the exclusive rights to air the Olympics in the United States. The network says it will stream 4,500 hours of coverage, including live streaming of all competition. The games start Aug. 3, two days before the opening ceremony, and conclude Aug. 21.

For those not affected by the broadcasting rights issue, the solution is simple enough: an AAFES Exchange password. Military personnel stationed overseas who live on base, as well as servicemembers, retirees and their families living stateside, can access NBC’s Olympics live streaming video via their desktop or personal devices as long as they have an active Exchange account, AAFES officials said.

All active-duty members, retirees and their dependents are eligible for an Exchange account at no cost. Others authorized include reservists and Defense Department civilian personnel employed overseas.

NBC’s digital coverage can be accessed by visiting or the NBC Sports app and choosing the Exchange as your service provider. Without an AAFES Exchange password, a viewer would have to be a U.S.-based cable or satellite subscriber to access live streaming.

Americans overseas living off base can catch Olympic coverage through American Forces Network. AFN will air portions of NBC Olympics’ broadcast and cable coverage on its television services for the U.S. military community overseas, officials said.

But that coverage could be limited or tape-delayed, as happened during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Additional information will be available on To see a day-by-day list highlighting events to watch, go to

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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