KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — Folks new to being stationed overseas will notice two major differences when they view the Super Bowl on Monday.

For one, AFN’s Super Bowl telecasts come without commercials — considered a staple and a major attraction for the game’s TV viewers.

"Each year [we] get asked by our audience to include the stateside commercials" in Super Bowl telecasts, AFN affiliate relations chief Larry Sichter said.

But AFN acquires rights to events such as the Super Bowl at no cost, and producers and talent forgo their residuals, simply because AFN is not a commercial network, Sichter said.

"This is a long-standing tradition and the future of AFN is directly related to its ability to honor" its agreements with broadcast rights holders not to air commercials, he said.

Super Bowl commercials aren’t licensed for overseas distribution, Sichter said. "However, all the commercials … are always available immediately after the game on many Internet sites" such as YouTube.

As a DOD instrumentality, AFN uses the commercial breaks to broadcast "command and international information from and for the commanders and commands downrange," Sichter said.

Because the Super Bowl is AFN’s biggest draw, "it’s a perfect place to schedule the messages our audience has come to rely on," he said.

The other notable change for folks watching overseas is the time difference — 8:20 a.m. kickoff Monday, nominally a duty day, in Japan and South Korea, with bacon, eggs and java serving as suitable substitutes for ribs, brats and beer.

Because of the game’s stature in the States, even on a Monday, allowances are made by commands and duty sections to allow GIs and civilians to watch. Off time varies from command to command — some troops get the day off, others a half-day.

"It’s become an American tradition," said Maj. John S. Hutcheson, public affairs officer for Kadena’s 18th Wing, which has given its personnel Monday morning off to watch the game.

"Just because folks are a long way from home, we still want them to take part in that tradition and have fun doing it," he said.

There’s no shortage of venues to see the game and enjoy a filling breakfast. Morale, Welfare and Recreation components do their part to provide the feel of a sports bar in Peoria, Ill., or a tailgate party in Green Bay, Wis.

Clubs and community centers generally give GIs, civilians and families much more than the game on a wide-screen TV.

Lavish buffets — some free, others at nominal prices — will be available, as will contests with prizes ranging from jerseys to free air passage and tickets to the NFL Pro Bowl on Feb. 8 in Honolulu.

Minnesota Vikings and San Diego Chargers cheerleaders will perform at some of the parties. It’s the sixth year NFL cheerleaders have visited to the Pacific; before that, retired NFL stars made the trip.

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Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages the Pacific Storm Tracker.

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