NCAA hoops tourney will be livestreamed for overseas US personnel on AFN app
Stars and Stripes March 9, 2023
U.S. troops and other eligible overseas viewers of the American Forces Network can catch live coverage of March Madness wherever they are when the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament tips off next week.
AFN will air the games starting Tuesday. They will be shown simultaneously on four AFN television channels and four “virtual” channels on the video streaming app AFN Now.
“Every time we have March Madness on television, it is on the app at the exact same time,” said Zoe Stagg, AFN chief of television programming. For viewers “to be able to tune in wherever they are is such a historic moment in AFN’s history.”
AFN will carry all men’s contests in the 68-team tournament as well as the NCAA women’s tournament starting with the Sweet 16, Stagg said. Most games will be broadcast live but some will be tape-delayed.
The four channels on the app will correspond with the channels airing the games on AFN Television: Sports, Sports2, Prime Pacific and Prime Atlantic.
AFN is creating a banner at the top of the AFN Now home tab that will allow users to click into a live channel as an event is streaming, network spokesman John Clearwater said via email.
The tournament schedule is available at https://myafn.net.
Games also will be available on AFN Now as video-on-demand content shortly after airing.
Most NCAA games will stay up for seven days; however, due to rights agreements, games provided by CBS Sports will be up for only 24 hours following their live broadcast, Clearwater said.
The men’s tournament concludes with the championship game April 3, while the women’s tournament runs through April 2.
Sports have been a popular draw for the app since it debuted in November, said Mike Drumheller, AFN broadcast center director.
Following the Feb. 12 Super Bowl, one of the first major sporting events livestreamed on the app, the number of registered users rose from about 8,000 to nearly 19,000, he said.
AFN is looking to add more sports to the app, including professional baseball, basketball, hockey and mixed martial arts, Drumheller said.
An agreement to livestream Major League Baseball games is pending, he said.
“We just met with (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and it’s likely we’ll be able to get UFC on as well NHL, NBA and the U.S. Football League,” he added, whether via livestream or on demand.
The AFN Now app is free to download from app stores and available to overseas U.S. service members, families, military retirees and Defense Department civilians.
The app also carries television shows and news programming. Registration is available at https://myafn.dodmedia.osd.mil/.