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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 situation for 2016 will likely be similar. During periods when the soccer leagues are in season, coverage on FSP could be limited in a similar way. During the two months between soccer seasons, Aussie rules coverage will likely increase. The current contract with the AFL concludes at the end of the 2016 season and we are not yet prepared to take a view on the benefits of continued coverage on FSP and FS2 for US fans. The Fox networks have done an excellent job overall during the current contract but with the change in their situation, we will re-evaluate our recommendations to fans and the AFL after this season concludes. Based on the past 20 years, we do not expect that the AFL will move forward on a new US TV contract before concluding their domestic TV contracts for 2017 and beyond. The latter could occur at any time in the next year but probably prior to the start of the 2016 AFL season, according to press reports. We will publish additional information between the 2015 and 2016 season.

Article last changed on Sunday, August 16, 2015 - 11:43 PM EDT

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