2010 Television Coverage for US and Canada Announced

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The 2010 season TV coverage for North America is finally becoming clear.  For the most part, coverage will not be different than what was the case in August and September of last season.  The primary US coverage will be via internet broadband on ESPN360.com. This is free if your ISP has a deal with ESPN [about 50% of US homes including internet providers Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, RCN, Insight, Frontier, Cavalier, Charter, Mediacom, Conway, Grande Communications, etc.  It is also available at no cost to U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers connected to on-campus educational networks and on-base military networks].

We will be posting round by round schedules for virtually the entire AFL season shortly.  Round 1 will have Richmond v Carlton, Geelong v Essendon, and Western B. v Collingwood live. [There is no NAB Cup coverage.] Three matches will be live per round for the balance of the AFL season on ESPN360.  In April ESPN360 will change names to ESPN3.com and have upgraded web services but otherwise remain the same.   ESPN2, the cable and satellite channel, will carry 4 AFL matches during the course of the season including the Grand Final (live). The first match will be the Round 15 Geelong v Hawthorn match on a delayed basis. Two more will be selected at a later date.

Secondary coverage will be on MHz Networks. MHz affiliates are now in over half of the major US TV markets and they just added Los Angeles. MHz will announce more cities soon and we will update the list on our TV Info page as they are announced.  MHz will provide a 3-hour match each week, delayed one week from ESPN360 and likely selected from one of the 3 ESPN matches. More details are due to be announced by MHz soon. Coverage begins April 5th at 9:00 PM US EDT and repeated 3 hours later. Match to be aired TBA.  MHz is also now available on the Roku Digital Video Player (we will have more on Roku soon).

Coverage via Bigpond TV, Aussie Sport TV, and Omnisport TV are yet to be fully detailed by the AFL and we will post more on those options soon.  .

Canadian coverage will continue on TSN2. We are told to expect similar coverage to that of last August / September however we are still awaiting word from TSN management and the AFL.

Comments

Jason Hutty's picture

Re: 2010 Television Coverage for US and Canada Announced

Does the launch of Fox Soccer Plus have any impact on these deals? I see that they have picked up Setanta's Soccer and Rugby coverage, any way to get a part of this action and get the footy back on TV?

admincms's picture

Re: 2010 Television Coverage for US and Canada Announced

Jason Hutty wrote:
Does the launch of Fox Soccer Plus have any impact on these deals? I see that they have picked up Setanta's Soccer and Rugby coverage, any way to get a part of this action and get the footy back on TV?

No impact whatsoever.  Fox made it very clear in 2006 they were not interested in carrying footy any longer and nothing has happened to suggest they have changed their minds.  The former Setanta programming now on FOX Soccer Plus are rights that were reclaimed, purchased, etc as Setanta USA closed down.  Setanta gave up rights to footy last August and thus were not a factor in the discussions between FOX and the Setanta North America.   The rugby coverage was largely a free lunch to FOX in this.  How long it remains on FSP we will have to wait and see. 

(Soapbox mode on and no criticism intended toward Jason:)  Footy is on TV.   We have coverage in over half of the major US cities on MHz and depending on how you view ESPN360 that is TV, too, just not delivered the same way [ESPN would argue that they want you to see it as a channel hence the name change to ESPN3 in a month].  I grant that the coverage is not what we were getting with Setanta but for every fan that laments the loss of Setanta at $14.99 a month there is one happy to get it free on ESPN360.  I just wonder where the people who pine for Setanta were while AFANA and the AFL were being criticized for 3 1/2 years on these pages because it was on a premium pay channel.  Not to mention all those who never signed up for Setanta but want it now.  We heard for 12 years that fans wanted it back on ESPN.  Be careful what you wish for.  Sigh.  (Soapbox off.)

-Rob
AFANA Chairman Emeritus and Site Admin

Anonymous's picture

Re: 2010 Television Coverage for US and Canada Announced

I was wondering about the Canadian situation. Is TSN-2 carrying a single game/week again?

admincms's picture

Re: 2010 Television Coverage for US and Canada Announced

Yes, TSN2 will have one game live per week and TSN.ca will have 2 more on delay.   This was confirmed by AFANA in the past couple of days and we will have the schedules for TSN2 up shortly.   TSN.ca schedules are still being worked out by TSN.   We'd expect that all 3 games will parallel those on ESPN360 (soon to be ESPN3). 

-Rob
AFANA Chairman Emeritus and Site Admin

George Loehr's picture

Re: 2010 Television Coverage for US and Canada Announced

The fact that only 4 matches will be on regular TV in the US, and those not until the last part of the season, is most disappointing. I had hoped that ESPN2 would do the Match of the Week, as we used to be able to watch some years ago. When I see which other sports are covered, many extensively, I don't understand why something so exciting as Aussie Rules gets so little chance to develop an audience.

admincms's picture

Re: 2010 Television Coverage for US and Canada Announced

Hi George,

I'd like to have seen more coverage on ESPN2 also but this was the deal we got last August and it was the best deal the sport was going to get.  Without rehashing all of the discussion of last year, until the sport can show better ratings we have to live with this. 

There is an upside to this, if fans choose to make it so.  These four matches should be the 4 most watched AFL matches ever aired in the USA.  If the ratings are better than expected, ESPN will notice that and react accordingly.   Last season's Grand Final was probably seen by more Americans than any AFL match ever aired in the US and it was on ESPN Classic. 

Tell everyone you know by every means you know how about these four matches and let's see what we can accomplish. 

-Rob
AFANA Chairman Emeritus and Site Admin

Jason Hutty's picture

Re: 2010 Television Coverage for US and Canada Announced

Thanks for your answers Rob. Is there any chance of aussiesport.tv showing games live or near live, or does the ESPN contract remove that option?

admincms's picture

Re: 2010 Television Coverage for US and Canada Announced

At this point, so far as we know, ASTV should have similar coverage to last season.  We are waiting for the details from the AFL and ASTV though. 

-Rob
AFANA Chairman Emeritus and Site Admin

Rob's picture

Re: 2010 Television Coverage for US and Canada Announced

I'd like to make a suggestion in relation to ASTV. I would love 3 things. First, full match replays should be uploaded promptly and consistently. Second, the match replays should include half-time and post-game commentary as these aspects are of great assistance to a novice trying to learn the game. Third, the site should do a better job of disguising match results so that the result isn't given away by the title or photo of the next download. This is especially important when matches aren't uploaded for several days.

admincms's picture

Re: 2010 Television Coverage for US and Canada Announced

Your suggestions are good ones and nothing that hasn't been asked for before.  I can tell you that you are unlikely to get #2.  ASTV may not have the rights to those commentaries.   They are the property of the originating network and unless they are part of the existing ASTV agreement with the AFL and by extension its broadcast networks they won't appear. 

-Rob
AFANA Chairman Emeritus and Site Admin

Swans500's picture

Re: 2010 Television Coverage for US and Canada Announced

Whoo, am I upset?

On ESPN360/ 3, Sydney is not featured in any game for the whole first half of the season!!!! The only team to achieve this kick in the ...they finally appear at the end of June. It is all Collingwood, Carlton, Eagles....everyone else in fact....

Dennis....

admincms's picture

Re: 2010 Television Coverage for US and Canada Announced

Dennis,

I suggest you calmly and politely take the complaint to ESPN and let them know a better balance in the club selection would be appreciated.  AFANA had no input in the choices this season but we will make some comments to ESPN in due course. 

A reminder to all posters:  this is a family friendly site and we will strictly enforce the policies listed in our Terms and Conditions.  Watch your language.  I know that stuff is tolerated elsewhere but it isn't here. 

-Rob
AFANA Chairman Emeritus and Site Admin

Swans500's picture

Re: 2010 Television Coverage for US and Canada Announced

Sorry Rob....it was late at night and I was, LOL, in shock.

But, with this matter, it seems a little incongruous to me, certainly on behalf of the AFL if they have anything to do with this. SYDNEY, as an Aussie "location" name is by far the most well known in the USA market for ANYthing....but I will take your advice and politely suggest to all concerned that this is something maybe overlooked. I admit that in the Setanta days, Swans got a huge share of the  exposure, which I thought was possibly for the reason I have mentioned. Or maybe it is all a big coincidence ....fitting in available ESPN timeslots with available Oz network telecasts....

Dennis....

Joel's picture

Re: 2010 Television Coverage for US and Canada Announced

The demise of Setanta USA is a blow to me, as I subscribed to it specifically to be able to watch footy. Having done so, I was introduced to other sports that I fell in love with (rugby league being one).

Sadly, my ISP has no relationship with ESPN, so receiving the broadcasts via the internet is not an option for me. (Indeed, the business model that ESPN is pursuing is contrary to the concept of net neutrality; but that is another discussion.) I am in Chicago, so perhaps WCIU will be my best option, although I do not know how many games they plan to broadcast.

Footy is such a great game. It needs as much visibility as possible in order gain popularity. I should think that the AFL would want to cut as many deals as possible to penetrate the U.S. market.

admincms's picture

Re: 2010 Television Coverage for US and Canada Announced

Hi Joel,

I understand the frustration of fans that lost Setanta.  However, we beat that subject to death on this site last season and I won't go there again.   It wasn't something that could have been avoided and it wasn't the fault of AFANA or the AFL.  It happened and we move on. 

The AFL does have multiple US outlets in ESPN and MHz.  The whole point of having MHz in the mix is that it reaches more people (25% of US households overall and 50% of major TV markets).  My primary ISP doesn't support ESPN360 either but it is is a good deal for the AFL and the 50% of US fans that can access it.  It's just that the ESPN 50% is a different subset of the US population than the 43% that Setanta reached.  There were fans that are better off and some that are worse off.   There is a limit though -- ESPN won't just agree to the coverage and then let the AFL sub-license 4 other channels.  It reduces the value of what they pay for and that is simply not going to happen for business reasons.  AFL coverage is worth something and that is good for the sport.  It means revenue to the AFL; it means more money to invest in international growth of footy. 

WYCC has Chicago coverage (see our TV Info page!) and will have the MHz coverage with the specific matches and coverage we describe for MHz.  As MHz continues to expand it will reach fans that footy would never reach any other way.  It's working, too.  The largest group of new fans registering for this site since the beginning of the 2009 season are MHz viewers.  That change preceded the Setanta demise and it is growing.  No, it isn't 2 or 3 live matches a week like Setanta but it is better than the folks who still have no coverage at all. 

-Rob
AFANA Chairman Emeritus and Site Admin

Kenny d's picture

Re: 2010 Television Coverage for US and Canada Announced

Well I paid for satanta for 3 years or so, continuing even during the footy off season hoping others were supporting it the same. I just cannot imagine how the best sport around cannot gather the following that so many other inferior if not useless"sports" have.. *gambling term* anyone??? Sigh... I am hoping the espn360/3 works well .

admincms's picture

Re: 2010 Television Coverage for US and Canada Announced

Thanks for supporting the sport, Kenny.  It's really not about why the "best sport" can't get a following.  It has a following and needs a bigger one.   The issue is that we need to reach fans and let them know the sport is on the air and where.  We need to explain and educate people about the sport.  We've been doing it here at AFANA since 1996 but we can't do it alone.  We need fans to share the word by posting links to us on other social and sharing web sites (like Facebook - we're there! - see the lower right corner of the page) and Digg, etc.  Tell your friends.   Post notes on Twitter.   Have viewing parties and introduce new fans to the sport.  One suggestion though: we do ourselves no favors by running down other sports.  It doesn't work.  You won't convince someone to like your sport by trashing theirs

ESPN360 does work well.  We saw that last August and September when they took over.   With the change to "Flash" I'm hoping it works better still.  Will there be fans with problems?  Yep, with as many different computer set-ups it is inevitable.  I bet though that it will be many fewer than have problems with the AFL's own web site. 

-Rob
AFANA Chairman Emeritus and Site Admin

Jason Hutty's picture

Re: 2010 Television Coverage for US and Canada Announced

Ho Rob,

It occured to me that the infomercials showing on say FSC (or any old channel for that matter) at 3 oclock in the morning can't be that expensive to air - they are not exactly multinational companies. How much would it cost the AFL to just buy some of that junk time to air games? Has that option/avenue been considered?

admincms's picture

Re: 2010 Television Coverage for US and Canada Announced

Hi Jason,

Yes, that is an idea that has been around for many years.  The cost per hour isn't significant but buying a large enough block of time each week for the entire season and on enough stations to make a difference does add up to too much money without a sponsor to cover it.  America One provided a good alternative solution in this vein but unfortunately they do not appear to be on board this season.   "Time-buys" are hard for sports leagues.  Generally you have no control over the schedule except a vague block of time where it might air which makes it hard to promote.  All that said, if we had no coverage at all we'd look at any alternative that made sense.  Given that the AFL is on 2 US channels and 1 in Canada, it doesn't.  Even if the coverage is imperfect.  (Even the NCAA basketball coverage fails that test.)

-Rob
AFANA Chairman Emeritus and Site Admin

Tony's picture

Re: 2010 Television Coverage for US and Canada Announced

hi rob,

Do you ever forsee satellite companies such as DirecTV or Dish network putting together anseason pass style package for AFL? (like NFL Sunday Ticket, MLB Extra Innings, etc) I do know they have cricket packages, so could footy be possible?

admincms's picture

Re: 2010 Television Coverage for US and Canada Announced

Good question Tony. 

I don't expect it anytime soon.  We have one source of content and until there is a stronger market for the sport I can't see anyone packaging anything.  The Setanta effort was disappointing and it will take several years of success on ESPN to overcome that. 

-Rob
AFANA Chairman Emeritus and Site Admin

Anonymous's picture

ESPN360 coverage

Well all I can say is it was worth the wait. FINALLY decent coverage! The picture is beautiful and hi quality the availability is right on time (not that I'm getting up at 4 am to watch games)but replay was available immediately. Have all ready seen the replay of Carlton and Richmond. How long do you think before Aussie Sport Tv will have it up- HA. And then I get an email from them stating that they'll have over 100 games available "live" this year for only 5.99 per. Uh, no thanks. I'm very well pleased with the folks at espn. For those of you who don't have 360 (we just got it where I live through Cox) call and hound your cable provider. This is the best possible coverage we've had of AFL in my experience (never had Setanta where I live). Folks that have seen it- contact ESPN and ask them to keep it up. Thanks to all the folks here at AFANA. I know you have relationship with Aussie Sport but they just could never live up to their end of the bargain.

Go Blues

Rick Dawes

admincms's picture

Re: ESPN360 coverage

Hi Rick,

Thanks for your comments and glad you are pleased with the ESPN360 coverage.   I hope it continues to be good and I'll hold my breath that the changeover to ESPN3.com goes smoothly.   I moved your message to this thread since it didn't seem germane to the discussion of the AFL Previews.

Regarding our relationship with ASTV, let me make clear that they offered us a commission for referrals on subscriptions and  we thought that made sense.  We don't often get much back for our work here.   Beyond that, we don't have any formal relationship with them and don't endorse their service over anyone else.  In fact, arguably, we give top billing to ESPN which is where it belongs.   For some US based fans however, ASTV and Omnisport.tv remain their only options. 

-Rob
AFANA Chairman Emeritus and Site Admin

Rick Dawes's picture

Re: ESPN360 coverage

Hi Rob

As always- you and afana do such a great job. Thanks for all of your dedication. I too hold my breath with the change over to ESPN3. What kind of issues do you think could happen? I don't mean to be too critical of Aussie Sport- but you just know they could do better. Anyway, so glad it's afl time again and will follow the season like a hawk (no not Hawthorn).

Go Blues

Rick

admincms's picture

ESPN360 to ESPN3 change

My primary concern about the change next weekend is the switch from the current technology platform they use ("Move") to Flash based video.  Should be better and more compatible but we'll have to see what happens.

-Rob
AFANA Chairman Emeritus and Site Admin

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