News has begun to leak out on the future of Fox Soccer Plus (FSP) and programming carried by it, including Aussie rules football. We caution everyone that what follows is uncertain, not confirmed by any official source at Fox or the AFL, but based on information we have gleaned from multiple sources and web sites. We will update this story as more information becomes available. Updated 8/13/13 with more recent info on the schedule on FUEL/FS2; updated 8/14/13 with more on FS2 availability. This post is about US coverage only and no impact is expected to Canadian coverage. Updated 8/28/13 with confirmation of some details from FOX via the AFL.
Beginning tomorrow (8/13/13), AFL programs will begin appearing again on FUEL later this week.. On Saturday morning (8/17/13), FUEL will become Fox Sports 2 (FS2). This weekend live AFL coverage, not just repeats, are expected to begin on FUEL / FS2. We are working to add the schedule we've obtained to our web site TV page. Be patient, there is much to do, and we will get it fully updated over the next few days. (As of 8/13/13, we have added all of the FS2 coverage we are aware of but further updates are expected.) At this time, we do not know if it will continue on FSP in parallel to FS2 or disappear from FSP at some point. Initial indications are that FS2 will carry a limited AFL schedule and FSP will continue. We do not know if it will affect Grand Final coverage but we are confident we will have live Grand Final coverage on FSP or FS2 or both. Update: As of 8/28/13, we have the following from FOX via the AFL, in part:
"...It will remain on FOX Soccer Plus, as this network is not going away. We will continue to air at least 2 live matches per round, and ... FOX Sports 2 will also carry between 1-2 live matches per round where the schedule allows – anything that airs on the new network live will also air delayed on Plus when we can. As for the Finals Series, it looks like we may split the matches between Plus & FOX Sports 2, with the Grand Final airing live on Plus as it did last season..."
At this time, it isn't clear which cable and satellite companies will carry FS2 though based on TV and cable industry sources, we expect most companies that offer FUEL will continue to carry it as FS2. Since Fox is not asking for any increased fees for the new FS2 it can make the change in most cases without a new carriage agreement. (This is in contrast to the new FS1 which does not, as of this writing, have carriage on many of the largest cable and satellite companies.) We would further caution fans that FUEL is not widely available in HD whereas FSP currently is HD in many markets. Overall, FUEL is currently in about 39 million homes or about 35%; this is actually less than FSP but because FSP is a premium channel more fans overall might have access to FS2 when it debuts. Companies carrying FUEL and which will probably carry FS2 include DirecTV, DISH, Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-verse, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Brightouse.
The AFL has yet to offer any information on what we should expect however we are in touch with them. The AFL has advised they have contacted Fox regarding footy coverage. We have contacted FOX numerous times in recent weeks regarding this issue but have yet to receive any official response. We will continue to contact them for schedules and clarification of these issues.
Fans are encouraged to contact their cable and satellite providers, as well as FOX, to inquire about future carriage / coverage and to share with AFANA any responses. Please e-mail (forward) those to us or use our contact form on the web site (cut and paste) rather than post comments.
Article last changed on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - 11:01 PM EDT