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Editorial and commentary from the Chairman of AFANA.

Where's Footy Going in North America Now?

An editorial from the Chairman of AFANA on the future of Australian football in North America.

A week ago the first American, born and raised in the United States, make it to the top level of football down under. I hope that these closing weeks of the AFL season will see Jason Holmes (and perhaps Mason Cox, also) do enough to stay there in coming seasons. It's been a long wait. Twenty years for fans. We've also seen the conclusion of a huge new domestic TV contract for the AFL. It's also a milestone year for AFANA. Two decades of promoting the growth of Aussie rules in North America. From scrambling to save one hour of one week delayed highlights on US / Canadian television back in 1996 to having 12 hours per week of live coverage in the USA & 3 hours in per week in Canada plus highlights and repeats now. We have seen six networks come and go in that time. It's been a long journey.

Decreasing Coverage on Fox Soccer Plus

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.
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The Multicultural Fans

The AFL recently held its annual "multicultural round" and made a big splash by offering commentary in a second language for all of the matches. While it might be news to fans down under, alternate language broadcasts are not news to fans in North America. If you check our TV schedules, even occasionally, you have probably noticed listings in French and Spanish. The changes in the way we list telecasts in recent years has made that possible. At AFANA, we're committed to supporting fans who watch in languages other than English and living in North America.

Fox and the Magpies vs. Giants Match on June 14

As many fans know, coverage of the Collingwood v GWS match this past weekend (Round 11, 6/14/15) was interrupted by live soccer coverage. AFANA was made aware of the issue very quickly and responded to fans on Twitter. Here is the full story, the FOX statement, and what we can expect in the future:

On Fox Sports 1, coverage of the auto race in progress was weather delayed and thus ran past the allotted time. That meant the live coverage of the USA v Serbia in the Women’s FIFA tourney, which was to air on FS1, was bumped from FS1 to Fox Sports 2. This meant the FS2 coverage of the FIFA U-20 tourney was bumped from FS2 to Fox Soccer Plus.
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Design Change to Our Site

We have made a design change to the web site today. The right hand sidebar has been eliminated. These functions, including the login box, has been moved toward the lower half of the screen. These changes were made to make our site work better on a variety of devices including the many mobile devices used to access the web now. Our site should now be easier to use on a variety of screen sizes from wide screen monitors to smartphones. If you have any difficulty, please let us know by contacting us through the contact link at the top of the screen.
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We Sure Do Miss You Andrew! Not!

Two years ago, AFANA published an editorial concerning the double talk about international development emanating from AFL executives. (See Confusion or Deception: Mixed Messages from AFL) A year ago, Mr. Demetriou retired from his post as CEO of the AFL. He's mostly been out of the spotlight since but popped up recently to offer his view of the future of the game (Aussie Rules on brink of going global: Demetriou). It seems that a year away has cleared up his foggy lenses. Now he is saying the game is on the brink of going global. If that surprises you, you can only imagine our amusement.

First TV Coverage for 2015 Posted

We've begun to post the first TV schedule listings for the 2015 AFL season with the initial NAB Challenge matches on Fox Soccer Plus (FSP). Over the next few days and weeks we will be adding additional matches, coverage on other networks as it comes in, and updating our TV coverage pages. We do not expect any significant changes to the coverage in North America from what we had in 2014. More news will be added to this post as needed. Update 2/23/15: We have added schedules for WatchAFL and Australia Plus. Coverage on WatchAFL is free during the preseason NAB Challenge. No other North American networks except FSP, WatchAFL, and A+ are covering the preseason. Update 3/3/15: We have added the 4 remaining games only available from afl.com.au or the AFL smartphone / tablet app to the schedule with the network listed as afl.com.au (see bottom of the listings). These games are neither broadcast nor on WatchAFL. We're also adding Round 1 schedules as they trickle in.
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Fan Launches Petition To Get Full Grand Final Coverage

Update: Success! On 9/23/14 Fox Soccer Plus (US) and TSN2 (Canada) restored full coverage! Thanks for your support!) As noted on our Grand Final party and TV pages, the Grand Final is live in the USA on Fox Soccer Plus (FSP). US coverage will consist of the game only, no pre- or post-game. (Canadian coverage should be more extensive but we are awaiting confirmed times from TSN.) The US situation is due to a rights dispute between Seven Network and FSP over payment for music used in the pre- and post-game. This is not an issue during Rounds 1 to 23 nor during special games such as Anzac Day. It wasn't an issue before last season. Seven wants compensation or a rights guarantee from FSP. FSP (predictably) says no. A fan has taken matters into hand and started a petition campaign around this on Change.org site to lobby for a change. AFANA has endorsed his effort. Good 'onya Mark. Click on the link and sign the petition. Update (9/15/14): FSP has added 30 minutes to the Grand Final coverage so it now includes the medal and trophy ceremonies. There is still no pre-game.
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AFL Drug Policy, Essendon, and Predictable Outcomes

This is an editorial from the chairman of AFANA regarding the Essendon drug scandal.

There is a saying that true insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. If so, where the AFL and its clubs find themselves today is a predictable outcome. Watching the Essendon supplements saga from a distance has been a long and torturous road with the end results (and we're far from the end) yet to be written.

Before offering my analysis of the scandal, let's look at the AFL drug policy. On paper, the idea seems well meant. Test players for the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) and for use of illegal "recreational" drugs (though any addict will tell it becomes occupational when it dominates your life) and treat those players. As much as legally possible, keep the results secret until a third offense and treat the players in private. Don't tell anyone beyond the doctors and selected league or club officials of the results and certainly don't publicize them. As a general practice, this is what some of my former employers did and it makes sense, but only to a point and if administered honestly.

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(Please note:  if you supported us recently, we thank you for your contribution!  We look forward to your future support. If you donated in the past, you may have already received a reminder message via e-mail or PayPal or will shortly.)

AFANA is now in it's 19th year. One of the things we are forced to do periodically is to ask you for your financial support.  We need your support because we do this for fans but without the financial support of the AFL or other footy organizations. Step up and help us in our efforts to make Australian football better known in the USA and Canada and continue to keep you informed about AFL coverage.

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