In the biggest media deal in Australian sporting history, the AFL announced on 6th of September that Channel Seven and Foxtel have retained the Australian domestic broadcast rights to men's and women's competitions for a further seven years, fending off strong challenges from rival channels Nine and 10. The new deal, which expires at the end of 2031 season, is worth a total of A$4.5 billion (US$3.08 billion) at an average of A$643 million per year, a large increase on the A$473 million per year figure for the two-year contract extension Seven and Foxtel signed with the League in 2020, at the height of COVID pandemic. The previous rights deal from 2017 and 2022, also with Seven and Foxtel, was worth A$2.5 billion. [Ed. note: This new deal does not immediately affect coverage in the US and Canada which are covered by pre-existing contracts extending beyond this season. The current AFL deal with Fox Sports US has a mutual renewal option for the 2023 season.]
General TV info and comments
According to an international TV schedule released by the AFL, two games from Round 2 will appear this weekend on ESPN2/ESPN3. We are attempting to confirm this with ESPN. The announced schedule is:
ESPN2 Fri 6/12/20 5:30 AM US EDT Geelong vs Hawthorn ESPN3 Sun 6/14/20 1:30 AM US EDT Sydney vs Essendon
(Note: future schedules will be on our TV schedules page, just click on yellow button above.)(Update 6/12 10:30 AM:) While ESPN has yet to confirm this, the first match did air as scheduled. Overnight, the AFL broadcasting department advised us that up to two matches per week will air for the duration of the AFL season on one of the ESPN networks in the US, not including finals. We will continue to update this note as more information becomes available. Once ESPN replies, we will seek schedules for upcoming weeks and add them to our schedule pages.
(Update 6/13: From ESPN press release: "ESPN has brought back one of its earliest fan favorites, live Australian rules football, which returned Friday morning at 5:30 a.m. ET with the Geelong Cats vs. Hawthorn Hawks on ESPN2. Regular-season action will continue with one live match per week on a linear TV channel and one on ESPN3. ... A total of 32 Australian Football League (AFL) games across 16 weeks will be presented. Commentary and graphics will come from the host broadcaster. ESPN, which launched in September 1979, gained some of its first national attention by airing Australian Rules Football in its first year as the sport quickly grew a cult-like following. ESPN continued with AFL through 1985, airing the Grand Final live the final three years. ESPN2 aired AFL in 1996-97 and 2010-11.")
Another note to alert everyone that AFANA is closely tracking any developments the AFL makes to their season plans going forward. For now, everything downunder is suspended and the league is desperately trying to manage the financial impact. Fox Sports in the US is airing re-runs from March all month on Fox Soccer Plus but no other channel at this time. TSN is not airing any AFL coverage so far as we know in Canada. Our TV schedules are up to date through the end of April. Other pages like the radio page, draw pages, etc. will be updated as things become clearer.
Fans have also asked for an AFANA financial status report. It's still unstable in the long run but thanks to some limited sales commissions from WatchAFL and severe cost cutting, we will survive for the next few months for sure. As long as the season is shut down, that revenue will cease after May and we'll reassess where we are in early June. We badly need donations, particularly monthly commitments to cement our long term survival. We know that all of the chaos brought about by the COVID-19 virus puts added financial pressure on each of you as well. If you are fortunate and can spare some dollars please consider a donation using either of our donation buttons (GoFundMe or PayPal) at the top of the page. Consider $10 a month but any amount helps. Thanks for your support.
Fans should check our TV schedules as live games have been added to Fox Sports 1 (FS1). Additional live games have been added to TSN networks including TSN1 and TSN3 in Canada. We don't know whether this will continue but enjoy it while it lasts. The schedules have been updated
into next Thursday through the end of the month. More changes for the following week will be added soon when released to us by the networks.
Just a quick note to alert everyone that AFANA is closely following any changes the AFL makes to their schedule, whether it ends up being a shortened season as indicated overnight or is ultimately canceled. That will have a ripple effect on our TV schedules, radio page, draw pages, etc. As the dust settles we will make the necessary updates or notes but it might take awhile for everything to trickle down to the entire site and the networks to catch up.
Fans have also asked about where we are financially. It's still precarious and we badly need donations to pay the bills and debts. We know that all of the chaos brought about by the COVID-19 virus puts added financial pressure on each of you as well as on our long term viability. Please continue to consider a donation using either of our donation buttons at the top of the page. Thanks for your support.
AFANA has learned that WatchAFL subscription rates are rising on March 1. Fans are urged to subscribe today or tomorrow. The rates are as follows:
|Subscription||Old Rate||New Rate|
Side note: To further exacerbate our cash flow situation, our commissions on weekly and monthly orders through our links on this site were effectively cut. We will see an increase on annual subscriptions, which should help.
Over the weekend, we updated our TV schedules page and companion Google calendar to include the preliminary scheduled times up to the Grand Final for Fox networks and WatchAFL. For Fox, all finals in weeks one to three are live on Fox Sports 2 (FS2) only and repeats on Fox Soccer Plus (FSP). The Grand Final is on FSP only. WatchAFL has all matches, live and on-demand. Canadian schedules haven't been released yet but we're expecting something soon.
All live times are, of course, subject to change since the AFL adjusts match times during finals on a weekly basis. We've gone with what Fox provided us and for WatchAFL, with what the AFL did last season. The two vary a little for week one but we should have something firm by the end of August. The weeks 2 and 3 plus the Grand Final all line up and agree with recent years. We'll continuously update the schedules as we get closer to the end of the season and more info comes in.
We also are offering discounts for all WatchAFL subscriptions through the end of the season. It's 10% off for fans using code AFANA10. Be sure to go to https://mbsy.co/lhBGw and enter the code before you select which subscription option you want. Then click apply and choose the length of your subscription. If you have a bar, pub, or other venue hosting a party or showing AFL matches, contact us for a special code and save massively.
Need meat pies? Save 15% at DUB Pies using code afana18 (lower case) at https://www.dubpies.com/ Using our links and discount codes helps fund what we do at AFANA. We receive no financial support from the AFL or networks and depend entirely on you, the reader, to keep us going.
As we all know, the AFL has been, for several decades engaging in limited overseas recruiting, the International Rules series, and the International Cup. Leagues, some affiliated, have sprung up in many countries. Of course, the game is on television in many countries including the USA and Canada. Last year, Port Adelaide and Gold Coast played a mid-season game in Shanghai, China. On the back of that the AFL has just come to an agreement to air one game per round, plus the finals and Grand Final, on three free to air stations in China. This will give (reportedly) millions of Chinese a chance to see the game. Port Adelaide will feature in 11 of the 23 games to be broadcast, including their Round Nine clash with Gold Coast. It remains to be seen what impact this will have.
Be sure to check the advertisements at the bottom of every page... We have special 10% discounts available if you need to buy authentic down under footy pies for your next get together and a special discount on your 2018 subscription to WatchAFL. For both use code afana18 in order to save 10% when you checkout! Give your friends a real Aussie experience as you introduce them to Aussie rules.