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Television and Radio Coverage of 2011 International Rules Tests
Premium Sports and afl.com.au will be providing television and radio coverage (respectively) of the AFL/GAA 2011 International Rules Series, scheduled for October 28 in Melbourne and November 4 in Gold Coast.
Premium Sports (http://www.premiumsports.tv/index.html) coverage may be seen by subscribing to the feeds on UStream (link removed no longer valid) or Setanta-I (http://www.setantasportsplus.com/). There is no coverage on ESPN in the US or TSN in Canada. Coverage will begin at 4:30 AM US EDT for the first match and 4:30 AM US EST for the second. We will update this if it changes.
The cost for the tests is $19.99 each.
Radio coverage may be heard per usual through afl.com.au. Further information is available on our AFL Radio page.
About three years ago, I wrote an entry on my blog here at AFANA.com on "Why AFANA Is Important Even If You Don't Get The Footy Now". My argument then, in a nutshell, was this: If the only time you support what we do is when you are happy with the coverage, we might not be there on the day when you are not. Or alternately, if you only visit our site when you feel you need us, don't be surprised if we aren't able to help you. read more »
(See our earlier posts on this developing story: Setanta Faces Receivership Within Hours and Setanta's Circumstances Worsen and Setanta Looks For Survival Formula. Be sure to read the comments for all posts as they contain additional information. Update: 24-June: statement by AFL added. Update: 25 June: further info from Setanta and the AFL for North American and UK fans added in comments; Update: 9 July: info for Rounds 14 and beyond for UK fans are in the comments and won't be further noted here. Click on read more.)
It was announced today (23 June) that Deloitte has assumed administration of the UK operations of Setanta. Setanta's channel in Great Britain has gone off the air. Setanta UK will be shut down and viewers of the AFL in the UK will lose coverage as a result. For now, Setanta International is not part of the receivership proceedings and the US and Canadian channels will continue to operate. Deloitte has indicated it seek a buyer for Setanta's remaining operations including the US and Canadian channels. It appears that AFL will continue for an indefinite period in North America pending a sale and resolution. Today's events may impact the ability to get a live signal to the US via fiber optic cable as the London operations will be out of the "link". The loss of the UK operations may have other indirect impacts on the operations in Ireland and the US. read more »
(See our earlier stories and comments for more background on this story: Setanta's Circumstances Worsen and Setanta Looks For Survival Formula. Ed. Note: as of 23 June, Setanta remains on the air for now. See the comments for a public statement from Setanta.)
On Friday 19 June, Setanta failed to make a required progress payment of £10 million (US$16.5 million ) to the English Premier League. Despite Setanta having reached agreements with most other rights holders and creditors, the EPL then invoked its legal option to reclaim the current broadcasting rights and thus crippled the UK channel. This almost certainly means the company will now enter administrative receivership Monday, UK time. Deloitte are expected to be named administrators. Previous potential "white knights" have all backed away. The fate of the US operations are unclear at this hour but it may not survive if the parent does not (barring a last minute sale). AFL broadcasts in the US and Canada may end at any time.
AFANA will be consulting with the AFL and seek ways to save US coverage however fans should now be prepared for the channel to suspend operations at any time and for AFL coverage to end. We hope it won't but hope is thin at this stage.
The British newspaper the Guardian reported today that Setanta failed to make a scheduled progress payment to the Scottish Premier League (SPL). (See our earlier reports on Setanta's financial problems here.) It's not clear what impact this will have to on-going operations including those in the USA and Canada or for AFL coverage. At this time, programming seems to be continuing on all of their networks and AFL coverage does not appear to be affected. However, since this failure read more »
(See updated links and info in comments and click on read more for entire article.)
Reports in the press in the United Kingdom have been detailing the struggle by Setanta to find additional financing to meet payments due for rights fees for various sports, primarily soccer. Given the current economic environment and the substantial debt and obligations facing Setanta it is by no means clear they will survive though prospects are improving. (See reports in the Times Online (registered access) Sportsbusiness.com (paid access) and the Independent). The crisis has been triggered by the recent awarding of rights for Premier League coverage in the UK for the next few seasons. Setanta lost out in the bidding on much of its existing coverage and now faces only having 23 matches per year in the future. This significantly reduces its value to subscribers in the UK watching it to see soccer.
Australian football coverage in the US, Canada, UK, and Ireland is not in immediate danger read more »
Fans have yet another option for watching footy as AT&T's U-verse television service now carries Setanta Sports. Setanta is located at channel 657 on the all digital TV service and can be added for about $15 per month. The channel should be available on almost all U-verse systems nationwide now or will be available soon. To subscribe to U-verse or add Setanta Sports to your existing subscription, visit AT&T U-verse. Footy fans who have been patient since Setanta started footy TV coverage should now be seeing increased opportunities to subscribe. With the addition of U-verse, Setanta is now available on at least some of the cable systems of Cox, Comcast, RCN, AT&T's U-verse, as well as the satellite services of DirecTV, DISH, and Home2US, the fiber optic Verizon FiOS systems, and the IPTV providers GekTV, NexTV and ConnecTV.
RCN Cable and Setanta Sports announced today (Nov. 26th) that Setanta would be joining the RCN Cable line-up on Nov. 30th, 2008. Carriage will be on all RCN systems that are "all digital" as channel 549. This includes the service areas of Boston, Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC as well as other cities in the US. A free preview of Setanta Sports will be available from December 8th through 22nd. Fans who are customers of RCN can call 1-800-746-4726 or visit http://www.rcn.com to subscribe for $14.95 per month. RCN has indicated that areas not currently all digital will gain Setanta when they are converted to all digital in near future. With the addition of RCN, Setanta is now available on at least some of the cable systems of Cox, Comcast, RCN, and AT&T U-verse as well as the satellite services of DirecTV and DISH, the fiber optic Verizon FiOS systems, and the IPTV providers GekTV and NexTV.
Setanta Sports has now added Comcast to the list of TV distributors that offer the channel. Initially, the service is only available only to viewers in the Boston, Massachusetts metropolitan area (as channel 761). Setanta Sports debuted on Comcast with little notice to football fans on Nov. 13th, 2008 and AFANA learned of this on Nov. 24th. Comcast has indicated that as Comcast systems across the country become all digital, Setanta will be added on a progressive basis. The Comcast press release included this: "The launch, like the recent and upcoming launches of other international and High Definition programming unique to Comcast’s Boston and Brookline systems, will occur in other New England communities as the rest of the region converts to the nearly all digital network that Comcast created last year in Boston and Brookline as a national model for high-capacity broadband." Comcast subscribers can call 1-800-266-2278 to inquire on availability in their area (and post a comment to tell us what you learn). Cost is similar to that on all of the other outlets that offer Setanta Sports; $14.95 per month and is part of the "International" channel packages offered by Comcast. Boston area fans can subscribe now. More information is available at these links: read more »
Setanta Sports has finally gained distribution on one of the major cable companies in the USA. It was announced on Wednesday and confirmed today that Setanta will begin appearing on cable systems in northern Virginia owned by Cox Communications. That will eventually be followed by wider distribution on Cox systems nationwide. The cost is expected to be similar to that of existing outlets, about $14.99 per month, on a subscription basis. At this time no definitive schedule for the rollout on Cox has been released but it will likely take several months or more. Thus it is not known how soon viewers on Cox systems can expect it to be available in their area of the United States (fans are encouraged to call their local Cox cable office but understand that they may not know the local rollout date just yet). Initial areas to get Setanta will be the Cox systems in Fredericksburg and Fairfax, Virginia. Cox has indicated Fairfax area fans may subscribe as early as today (ch. 298), and Fredericksburg will follow soon.
Up to this time, Setanta has only been available via satellite, Verizon FiOS, and IPTV systems. AFANA will provide updated information on our TV pages as it becomes available.
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