As part of a last-minute deal, the Armed Forces Network will air the NFL’s conference championship games on Sunday despite the ongoing U.S. government shutdown, the network announced late Saturday.
Because the Senate failed to pass a budget agreement for 2018 on Friday, all non-essential government services were suspended starting this weekend. This excludes services like the U.S. Postal Service, Medicare and Social Security, but does shut down some disaster recovery efforts, national parks, government research operations and, until Saturday, military broadcast stations like the Armed Forces Network.
However, AFN director Col. Dave Honchul announced on the network’s Twitter page that a deal was made to keep two of its channels, AFN News and AFN Sports, on the air during the shutdown — meaning, the New England Patriots/Jacksonville Jaguars and Minnesota Vikings/Philadelphia Eagles games will be available. Even if the network had been shut down, military members and their families stationed overseas could see the games streamed online and on NFL’s GamePass system.
“Despite the government shutdown, (the department) determined the operational necessity of television and radio broadcasts constitutes them as essential activities,” chief Defense Department spokeswoman Dana White said. “We will continue to find solutions to support our troops at home and abroad.”