Editorial

Special Offers For Fans During Finals
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We're pleased to offer fans two discount options for this year's finals. First, if you haven't subscribed to WatchAFL and plan to do so for the rest of the month or just for the Grand Final, you can save by using our link and the discount code AFANA when you complete your subscription:

WatchAFL at this link, use code AFANA for 10% off!

and if you need meat pies... you can save 10% on the pies, too. Click on the graphic below and use code AFANA17 when you check out::
   (Order by Friday the 22nd if you delivery by the Grand Final with standard shipping)


Receive 10% off your order on meat pies for the Grand Final with code AFANA17
Receive 10% off your order on meat pies for the Grand Final with code AFANA17

A Milestone for AFANA.com
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In April 2006, AFANA debuted the current web platform for this web site. It was a radical change for us and a big step forward. We're pleased to say that this is the 10,000th article posted to the site since that time. We hope you've found our work valuable. Our team have lots of great content to bring you in the future. As we approach the 22nd Grand Final we have seen as an organization, we trust we have helped you Get Your Footy!

-Rob de Santos
Founder and former Chairman

-Paat Kelly
Chief Executive Officer
AFANA

2017 North American TV Coverage Is Still Up In The Air
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(Ed note: 3/23/17 7:00 PM EDT. We have added almost all known schedule listings to our TV schedules page. We still await the official announcement from the AFL and Fox Sports. TSN did issue a press release today.
3/22/17 9:15 PM EDT. We have now confirmed the round 1 schedules with all parties. We also will be adding Round 2 to 5 for Fox to the schedules page in the next 24 hrs. However, we understand that contractual issues remain between Fox and the AFL. 
3/22/17 4:00 PM EDT. We have posted the schedule info we have so far on our TV schedules page but nothing has been officially confirmed by the AFL, Fox Sports, or TSN. We anticipate an announcement in the next 24 to 36 hrs. More will follow as available.)

With a little over two weeks until the 2017 AFL season kicks off, the league and its North American broadcast television partners are still in the process of negotiating television rights for the 2017 season and beyond. The AFL is hopeful that the deal is finalized before the Round 1 opener of Carlton v Richmond on March 23rd.  This applies to both US and Canada.

While AFANA understands this is not ideal, we are encouraged that the parties involved are still negotiating and are hopeful that an agreement can be reached quickly. None of the parties has indicated that any specific problem is the cause of the delay and we discourage fans from uninformed speculation. While the delay is of concern, we do not suggest fans take any action at this time.

All games will still be streamed on WatchAFL Global to subscribers, regardless of the current broadcast television situation.

New Leader of AFANA Announced
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Effective immediately. Paat Kelly has been appointed President of AFANA. Mr. Kelly has already assumed his duties and is now responsible for the day to day management of AFANA. (Ed. note: Press release is linked at the bottom of this article.)

Last year, the organization announced that 2016 would be the last year co-founder and chairman, Rob de Santos, would lead the organization on a daily basis. Mr. Kelly has been part of the management team for over a decade and previously headed up the marketing and publicity for the organization as well as serving as a photo-journalist. Mr. de Santos said: "He understands our mission and the organization and will be a great leader of our effort to bring footy to North America. AFANA is in very capable hands."

Questions regarding AFANA should be directed to Paat at pke...@afana.com. Ben Seacrist, webmaster, and Mr. de Santos will continue to manage the internal operations of the organization website. All editorial and tipping staff will report to Mr. Kelly until a full-time editor-in-chief is appointed. Jeff Hemelt will continue as director of TV schedules and network relations. Other administrative changes will be made gradually over the coming months and announced when appropriate. Mr. de Santos is retiring but will continue to assist the management team during the transition.

Australian Football on US Television in 2016 and the Future
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(This is the first in a series of long form editorials on the state of footy on TV in 2016 and the future outlook.) A long time ago in TV world far, far away, a small group of passionate AFL fans managed to get the AFL and ESPN together and save the weekly highlights coverage on US and Canadian television. It was an early and largely unnoticed accomplishment of the internet age as e-mail and newsgroups were the media used to launch coordinated action. Looking back, it was an amazing achievement in 1995-1996. It also was the catalyst for the formation of AFANA.

Over the past 20 years we’ve evolved from lobbying by fans to more sophisticated ways of attempting to drive the AFL’s TV strategy (with varying degrees of success). We’ve successfully helped steer them to new TV homes for the sport when old ones blew up on us. We’ve succeeded in keeping it on the air for 21 seasons without fail. Now, we have to decide what we do in 2016 and beyond. The answers for 1996 and 2006 no longer are the right ones. The TV market has changed. The fan base has changed. The AFL is far more media savvy than before and nominally, has an “international” strategy (although fans and marketing seem not to be a big part of that). We must change our tactics and strategy to deal with the AFL, TV networks, and fan development to match the world as it is in 2016.

Let’s take a look at the US landscape today (we’ll deal with Canada and Mexico in a future article):

Announcement on Future Direction of AFANA
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AFANA issued the following statement today:

In accordance with the following notice, a search committee was formed today to plan the succession in leadership for AFANA from 2017. Members of that committee will be announced shortly. The committee will make further statements on its plans and progress at a later date.

On January 3rd, Chief Executive Officer Rob de Santos sent an official notice to the Board and the volunteer staff which read, in part:

Fellow AFANAns,

A new number is on my calendar and it repeats every day: 2016. AFANA is in its 21st year and it will, by all indications, be a year of change. ...

This will be my last full year of daily involvement with AFANA as 2017 will bring ... my relocation to another part of the globe.

Urgent Announcement: TV Schedule Change for Grand Final - Action Needed!
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Today, Fox Soccer Plus dropped coverage of the pre-game for the Grand Final.

Coverage now starts at 12:30 AM US EDT, just before the first bounce. We were surprised by this change and so far, we have no explanation from Fox regarding the change but we have requested an explanation.

Regardless of the reasons given, this is very disappointing. We strongly urge all fans to contact Fox and the AFL and let them know we want the full coverage restored.

Contact Fox and the AFL via any means you can. Web, Facebook, Twitter, Phone, Fax, whatever you can use. Time is of the essence with the match only 72 hours away.

Here are a few links to get you started. If you find others, reply to us at auss...@afana.com and let us know.

Where's Footy Going in North America Now?
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An editorial from the Chairman of AFANA on the future of Australian football in North America.

A week ago the first American, born and raised in the United States, make it to the top level of football down under. I hope that these closing weeks of the AFL season will see Jason Holmes (and perhaps Mason Cox, also) do enough to stay there in coming seasons. It's been a long wait. Twenty years for fans. We've also seen the conclusion of a huge new domestic TV contract for the AFL. It's also a milestone year for AFANA. Two decades of promoting the growth of Aussie rules in North America. From scrambling to save one hour of one week delayed highlights on US / Canadian television back in 1996 to having 12 hours per week of live coverage in the USA & 3 hours in per week in Canada plus highlights and repeats now. We have seen six networks come and go in that time. It's been a long journey.

Decreasing Coverage on Fox Soccer Plus
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Fans checking our TV schedule page will notice the rapid decline in AFL coverage on Fox Soccer Plus (FSP), beginning this week and continuing into September. At AFANA, we felt it important to make a statement regarding the situation so that it is understood and the potential long term impact is made clear. Over the past 18 months, FSP has concluded a number of rights agreements for various soccer leagues, both domestic and European. Most of those leagues have now started play for their 2015-2016 seasons. This has meant that the 1 to 3 repeats per week on FSP of all AFL matches on Fox have been reduced. In a few cases, the matches aired live on Fox Sports 2 (FS2) are not repeated on tape delay on FSP. Many of the live matches on FSP have none or one repeat through the first 2 weeks of the finals. Please note that the repeats were not contractually required, so far as we know.  The number of live matches per week has not changed.

Going forward, we strongly encourage fans to check our schedule page frequently and insure that they either watch the match live or record it successfully. For those with WatchAFL, that is also an option. Based on the schedule at present, finals matches will be repeated at most once in the first two weeks. You should not anticipate that any match will be repeated more than once. We do not expect that this will impact Grand Final coverage or that the Grand Final will be shifted off of FSP.

The Multicultural Fans
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The AFL recently held its annual "multicultural round" and made a big splash by offering commentary in a second language for all of the matches. While it might be news to fans down under, alternate language broadcasts are not news to fans in North America. If you check our TV schedules, even occasionally, you have probably noticed listings in French and Spanish. The changes in the way we list telecasts in recent years has made that possible. At AFANA, we're committed to supporting fans who watch in languages other than English and living in North America.

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