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Do Not Adjust Your Television Set (Here We Go Again!)

(Update: 09/21/09:  This story is no longer being updated.  See here)
(Update: 09/15/09: For our Canadian fans, TSN2 will carry the Grand Final live.)
(Update: 09/14/09: The Grand Final will be live on ESPN Classic and ESPN360. The AFL and ESPN have confirmed this. Coverage will begin just before bouncedown at 12:25 AM EDT and run until 3:30 AM EDT.
We are still awaiting word on TSN for Canada.)
(Update: 09/10/09:  We are in on-going communication with the AFL and monitoring progress on this issue.  We are guardedly optimistic a positive resolution will be found.  However, if things do not move forward very soon AFANA will not hesitate to tell you, the fan, what you can do to help get the Grand Final live.) 
The current ESPN TV schedule shows that ESPN2 will air the AFL Grand Final at 2:00 AM EDT on Saturday, September 26, 2009.  The Grand Final will be edited for a two-hour window and will be delayed two hours.   For Canadians, at present TSN has not committed to any confirmed coverage at all.
 
We are in constant contact with the AFL about the situation.  The AFL international broadcasting staff in Melbourne is working with ESPN and "pushing for live."  The AFL will keep us posted with updates as they happen on that front.
 
We will continue to keep AFANA members and footy fans apprised of the situation, so stay tuned. Starting next week, we will provide some ideas as to what all footy fans in North America can and should do (whether it is to lobby ESPN, call local stations, make voodoo dolls, etc.) to see if we can get the a live broadcast of the game.
 
Thank you for your time.   Back to your regularly scheduled programming...

Article last changed on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 - 12:26 AM EDT


Comments

Oh no!

I truly hope we are able to convince ESPN2 to show it live... the two hour delay is the difference between a normal night out and having to persuade the bar to stay open later than legally allowed!

Please let us know what we can do... looking forward to your updates in the coming weeks.

Thanks,

Chris.

Posted by hydepark76 (not verified) on September 09, 2009

Might I recommend we hit the Prime Minister's office with emails? Mr. Rudd will be in New York on the night, and he will be stuck with a best-of package edited by some Yank who wouldn't know a specky from a spectator. If ESPN wants to continue to do business and make money for Walt Disney in Australia, perhaps they might not want to ruffle the feathers of the nation's leader.

Hi hydepark76,

We will certainly take a look at the lobbying whomever and whatever might get us where we need to be.  Having PM Rudd in New York won't hurt.  A couple of things we need to be careful of here though.

We do not want to reinforce the false perception that the fans of the sport in the US are mostly ex-pat Australians.  They aren't.  Our recently completed survey once again showed that two thirds of the most die hard fans of the sport are American or Canadian born (the percentage is much higher among the casual fans).  ESPN (or any US network) won't spend resources catering to the ex-pat audience but will instead focus on the Americans.  If they feel that all footy fans here are ex-pats that is a death knell for their interest. 

For the record, most of AFANA's staff are Americans and Canadians (not "yanks") and we certainly do know what a "specky" is.  Whether some of the staff at ESPN knows is another matter but in the end not important, if they give us live coverage. 

-Rob
AFANA Chairman Emeritus and Site Admin

Posted by Ryan (not verified) on September 10, 2009

Would it be a long shot to lobby the Prime Minister to kindly request the President get on the phone to the Disney executives? All in the name of the US-Australia alliance and economic prosperity, of course. :)

I have no idea if Pres. Obama is an Australian football fan but assuming he isn't, no it doesn't strike me as a high percentage play (to borrow a phrase from another sport). :lol:   AFANA is not above using influence at high levels of business and government to save coverage though.  We did that in the Fox Sports "era" with some success but it takes someone who has a personal interest in the sport.

-Rob
AFANA Chairman Emeritus and Site Admin

Hi Ben,

While there was some speculation prior to the deal being announced in August that other ESPN channels such as ESPN Classic might be included nothing like that has ever been officially announced. 

As the above update of 9/10/09 suggests, we are in on-going communication with the AFL and we are offering our advice on possible solutions to the Grand Final situation.  We think things are moving in a positive direction and are hopeful that the AFL and ESPN will come to a resolution shortly.  Whether that means live coverage on ESPN2 or another ESPN channel we can't say at this stage.  It would be irresponsible for us to publish the discussions we or ESPN are having with the AFL here as that would jeopardize any possible resolution.  We've made the AFL aware of how concerned fans, party organizers, and footy clubs are about the uncertainty.  If we didn't believe things were moving in the right direction, we would say so. 

-Rob
AFANA Chairman Emeritus and Site Admin

Posted by Ken Lane (not verified) on September 25, 2009

What is it with ESPN..As an Aussie living in the mid west, if I hadn't found your web site, I wouldn't have a clue it was on espn classic. They don't even have it on their front page or web site and it's a Grand Final for God's sake. Bunch of losers. Thanks for your dilligence guys, keep up the good work and Go Catters!!! Ken .

Thanks for the compliment and glad you like the web site.   We hope you make afana.com a regular stop on the web.

There is nothing going on with ESPN.  They aren't a bunch of losers.  The bottom line is this game (the Grand Final) is simply not important to the vast majority of their potential audience tonight.   They are an American network serving Americans and frankly not all that concerned about the 0.02% of the audience that are Aussie ex-pats.   We succeed in selling the sport to them by emphasizing the Americans who want to see it.

Yes, I really wish ESPN did a better job promoting the sport on their web site and on-air.  However, the contract change came six weeks ago.  That didn't leave any time to work out promotional arrangements the way either the AFL or AFANA would like.  The test of whether ESPN promote the sport won't be tonight, it will be in 2010 and 2011.

-Rob
AFANA Chairman Emeritus and Site Admin

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