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Editorial: Did The AFL Fail Footy In The USA?
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(This editorial is in response to the following post on the site of usfootynews.com: AFL Decision Fails Sport in USA.)(Ed. note: Link removed as no longer works as of Apr. 2013)

Our friend Wayne Kraska at usfootynews.com recently posted an editorial on why he feels the AFL has failed the sport of Australian football in the USA with it's latest TV contract with Fox Sports Plus (announcement here).  Considering his arguments and those of the many fans who commented here on this site, on our Facebook page, and in e-mails to us, I felt it was appropriate to respond. 

At the outset, I want every reader to know that I am sympathetic to the fans who feel the sport took a backward step with this new deal.  In some ways, that may be true.  I understand the frustration of fans who cannot get or afford to subscribe to Fox Sports Plus (FSP).  I also believe that there is a lack of understanding by many of the realities the AFL faced, the alternatives available, and the history of both recent events and those since 1980 when the AFL first appeared on the then nascent network ESPN.  

I want to address Wayne's key points because he raises some that many other fans have expressed.

Brief Update on 2012 TV Coverage
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(Update: 3/8/12: We have schedules now for TSN in Canada on our TV page.  In Round 1 TSN2 will have Hawthorn v Collingwood and 3 more on TSN.ca:  GWS v Syd, Rich v Coll, NMel v Ess.  We don't have US scheds or network yet but you can assume the matches will be the same and you can guess the network.  We will have more shortly.)  (Further info as of 2/28/12:  AFANA's sources suggest that a TV deal for both the USA and Canada is very close. We're waiting for an announcement or details from the AFL. That's all we can say at this stage since it is not possible to confirm any additional information. We don't want to jeopardize any deal or put out unconfirmed info so that's all we tell you at this time. [In other words, asking for more will not get you anything, OK?].)  Original article: This is a brief update on the expected TV coverage of the AFL in North America in 2012.  For US viewers, we can advise that at this time we do not expect any coverage on ESPN affiliated networks in 2012 based on information from ESPN.  However negotiations are on-going according to the AFL. (This has no bearing on whether ESPN covers the sport in other parts of the world.) Coverage on MHz Networks will likely continue however, no agreement has been concluded.  We understand negotiations are continuing but beyond that we do not have further information at this time. 

AFL 2012 Schedule Released
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by Johnson Leung reporting for AFANA from Melbourne with contributions by the AFANA staff

Greater Western Sydney (GWS) Giants, the AFL's newest team, will kick off the 2012 season with a local derby against cross-town rival Sydney, according to the schedule revealed recently in Melbourne. The Giants will play the Swans at ANZ Stadium on Saturday, March 24 in the only match of the week, to celebrate the new club's entry into the national competition. Richmond and Carlton have kept their season-opening marquee fixture on the following Thursday night (March 29), with Hawthorn hosting Collingwood on Friday, March 30, in Nathan Buckley's first game as Magpies' coach. High-profile Melbourne recruit Mitch Clark will face his old club, the Brisbane Lions, in his first game for the Demons, on Saturday afternoon (March 31) at the MCG, while reigning Premiers Geelong will kick off its title defense with a trip to Patersons Stadium to play Fremantle that night.  The schedule changes adversely affect fans in North America as there are fewer games that start prior to 1:00 AM US EDT.  Even if ESPN and TSN wanted to show a match at 12:00 MN US EDT every week, that will no longer be possible as the schedule caters (predictably) to the needs of the Australian television networks.

Grand Final Day Events and Timeline 2011
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The following is the time line for the the Grand Final day events including key times for match and TV related activities.   All times are listed first in Australian AEST and then in US EDT.  This is based on information from the AFL, AFANA, press reports and past history. This story will be periodically updated with late information.  Click on "read more" to see the entire table of events.


Start Time AEST Start Time US EDT End Time AEST End Time US EDT Event US / Can Network Coverage
10:00 AM 8:00 PM 12:30 PM 10:30 PM Season in Review / Grand Final Day from the MCG (Relayed from Ch. Ten Australia) 3AW radio pregame begins ESPN3.com (TV Internet only at this time)

2011 Grand Final Live on ESPN3 and ESPN2 in North America, Delay on TSN!
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ESPN2 and ESPN3 in the USA will carry the Grand Final between Collingwood and Geelong LIVE on Friday night / Saturday morning, September 30th / October 1st.  US coverage on ESPN3.com will begin at 8:00 PM EDT Friday including most pre-match festivities; Coverage will continue until 4:00 AM EDT Saturday concluding after the awards ceremony.   ESPN2 will join the live coverage in progress with the pre-game at 12:00 MN (Midnight) EDT and continue until 3:30 AM EDT Saturday. First bounce is about 12:30 AM EDT. Canadian coverage on TSN (not TSN2) will be joined in progress at 1:30 AM EDT and run to 4:00 AM. The entire Grand Final will be repeated on delay on TSN at 11:30 AM on October 1st and conclude at 3:30 PM.   TSN.ca will have live coverage beginning at 11:30 PM EDT. through to 4:00 AM. (Canadian fans should press "read more" below and see our full info on this issue).  If you have no access to any of the preceding options, the game will be live on LiveAFL.tv.  If available to you, then you can signup at (removed- obsolete).  Fans should check our TV Schedule page for details on the coverage and our TV Info page for more information on ESPN3, ESPN2, TSN, TSN2, and TSN.ca.   For those looking for parties, see our listings on our Grand Final Party page.  We have a timeline of Grand Final Day events posted here.   (Note:  the only live coverage in North America is via these outlets and they are available nationally via cable and satellite services -- see our TV Info page.)

AFANA Now Accepting 2011 Grand Final Party Announcements
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Are you or your group hosting a Grand Final party?

Once again, AFANA is accepting announcements of Grand Final parties. If you are hosting a Grand Final party and want AFANA to post it on our site complete the form at the "Go to form" link below this article.    

If you are a party organizer (no matter how big or small) or your footy club, social club, Australian American Chamber of Commerce, Aussie pub, etc. are planning a party please let us know.  If we know, we can direct local fans and out of town visitors to you.  Last year, many of the individual party listings were read over 1000 times each on our site!  Our listings cover the entire globe.  If there is a party somewhere around the world then we want to have it listed!  If you haven't started planning your party, now is the time to do so.  

Follow the "Go to form" or "read more" links below to submit your announcement.  We recommend that if you have a user account on this site, you log in prior to completing the form.
Party listings are here.

2011 Grand Final Parties Around North America and the World
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2011 AFL Grand Parties AFANA Logo

Looking for an AFL Grand Final Party in your area? You can reach all of our listings by clicking on the drop down box at the bottom of this article.  (Home page readers need to click on "read more" below this teaser to see the rest of this article and the drop down box of party listings is at the bottom of that page.) Clicking on the city names above this page will take you a special web page with links to every article we have related to that city including the party page but be sure to scroll down if necessary.

Are you hosting one and would like to promote it?  Once again, AFANA is accepting announcements of Grand Final parties.  If you are hosting a Grand Final party and want AFANA to post it on our site, send the details to us  
The page to enter info on your party is here. 

As of 9/26/2011, the Grand Final is live in the USA on ESPN3 from 8:00 PM EDT Sept. 30th with Grand Final day events through to 4:00 AM.  ESPN2 will pick up coverage live and in progress with the pre-game at 12:00 MN EDT 1 October through to 3:30 AM EDT.  LiveAFL.tv will also have live coverage. AFANA will post this and any updates on our TV pages (TV schedules).  For Canadian fans, as of 9/29/2011, TSN has added coverage on TSN (not TSN2) joined in progress at 1:30 AM EDT through to 4:00 PM. The full Grand Final will be aired on repeat beginning at 11:30 AM to 3:30 PM.) TSN.ca will have live coverage beginning at 11:30 PM EDT through to 4:00 AM. Canadian fans please see our story here.

 

Foxtel Big Winner In New Broadcast Deal
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Pay TV provider Foxtel and its half-owner Telstra have emerged as the biggest winners of the new AFL domestic broadcast deal, as Channel Seven retains the free-to-air rights to the competition. For the first time since 1997, the primary broadcaster will not change. In the biggest media deal in Australian sporting history, Foxtel and country Pay-TV provider Austar have won the right to televise every game (except the Grand Final) live, while Seven has the right to broadcast a minimum of four matches each round during the regular season and the Grand Final live.

Late Change Announced to AFL Highlights and Internet Coverage
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Major changes have been announced to the AFL weekly highlights programs and online coverage by the AFL.  Details were made available to AFANA in the past 24 hours.  (There are no other changes we are aware of besides what is reported here.)  The traditional AFL highlights programs have been replaced by a FOX Sports produced program called "AFL Winners" and the the online service previously provided by Aussie Sport TV (ASTV) has been replaced by LiveAFL.TV.  The new service is supposed to support platforms other than the Windows based PC's including Apple Mac's.  (We have not tested this as yet but there are at least two reports that it does work on Macs.)

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Footy on the Xbox 360
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Good news for footy fans as the newest update to the Xbox 360 dashboard brings another way for fans to watch footy on television. In preparation for the launch of the Kinect motion controller, Microsoft updated the dashboard, adding in, among other things, an ESPN application that give 360 users access to over 3500 sporting events.

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