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[Revised 8 Feb 2013 with details on Fox plans and Canada and 10, 11, and 12 Feb with more on AFL-TV. Revised 27 Feb with more from Fox. Revised 13 March with more on Fox. Also initial TV schedules were posted on the main TV schedule page.. Readers on the home page please press "Read More" below to see this entire article. Also see the comments.] AFANA has some preliminary information on the internet and TV coverage for the upcoming 2013 season. We will be updating this post over the next few weeks as more information becomes available. Here are the main points to know:

* The AFL has indicated that Fox Soccer Plus (FSP) will provide the same coverage in 2013 as in 2012 and that means two live matches per week with occasional repeats. Fox has not yet responded to our inquiries so we do not have confirmation from their end. However, since this is consistent with what both the AFL and Fox said was the agreed deal for 2012-2014 we have minimal concern. [Update: 27 Feb.: Fox has replied, telling AFANA in part: "We will be broadcasting the 2013 AFL Season. There will be a minimum of 2 live games per week on FOX Soccer Plus, in HD, with the season kicking off Saturday, March 23rd. We will be broadcasting every playoff match including the Grand Final."]

* AFANA is aware of various reports on the plans by Fox to convert several existing channels to national sports channels

(e.g. something like Fox Sports 1 and 2 analogous to ESPN and ESPN2). Until we have something official from Fox or the AFL or there is other confirmed information, it is only speculation as to where the AFL coverage will land if this occurs. Like other rumors on the fate of FSP following the loss of rights to broadcast the English Premier League soccer, we don't think wild speculation helps here. FSP has a contract with the AFL and presumably there are either contingencies in that for this situation or financial penalties for breach of contact. AFANA will monitor this closely and report on this site if and when something happens. [Update: According to the TV Today industry newsletter on 8 Feb., Fox will "unveil its long-rumored national sports channels to advertisers in early March. ... Fox will pitch its ,,, proposed Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 national channels during the company's first upfront presentation for sports. It is expected that the national channels will begin broadcasting games in August and expand their offerings in 2014." An upfront presentation is advertising speak for an advance sales presentation.][Update; 13 March: Fox announced last week that Fox Sports 1 will launch in August replacing the SPEED channel. FSP is unaffected at this time so far as Fox indicated. Future changes in programs and channel names are always possible but for now footy is safe.]

* Internet based TV coverage will not return to LiveSport.TV in 2013. We are expecting the AFL and Telstra (the rights holder) to make an announcement during the first 10 days of February on what will be offered in 2013. Internet radio coverage is not expected to change however the AFL has yet to provide details on this. Radio is expected to remain free of charge. [Update on 10 Feb.: No announcement has yet been made however the AFL web site has this: "In 2013 each of the 405 AFL games will be available live or on demand via your desktop, tablet and mobile. Every fan is different and with a variety of options there’s a package just for you. Try it for free during the NAB cup and pick the package that best suits your needs. A full season pass will give you access to every game of the 2013 Toyota AFL Premiership season. An array of other options include monthly, single-round and Finals passes. Further details will be available here soon. Previous subscribers will be contacted via email with details of packages and pricing for 2013."]
[Update on 11 Feb.: the AFL web site has now been amended to say: "In 2013, 225 games will be available live or on demand via your desktop, tablet and mobile." Also, the first details have emerged on the new partner Rightster and the plans in web for AFL-TV posts from TV and sports industry press releases. See these links: Sportspromedia and Reuters. Here is the main link to the subscription site: AFL-TV Costs will be A$120 for the season and access is supposedly good on almost all common platforms including Mac, iPad, Linux, Windows, etc. Of course, we'll have to see how it well it works.]
[Update 12 Feb.: Last year's subscribers are being sent a message reading like this (personal info removed):"As a previous subscriber to liveafl tv, we are very excited to welcome you to the launch of AFLTV, the new and exclusive Live streaming and full replay On Demand international service for the Australian Football League. We've set up an account for you to log in to the new service using the details below. ... Registering is easy, with no payment necessary to enjoy Live Coverage and full replays of every broadcast NAB Cup match. To make registration as easy as possible, we have provided you with a newly generated password to login with. Once you click the login button, grabbing a free NAB Cup or a full season pass is easy as following the simple steps on screen. The NAB Cup begins on the 15th February as a full pre-season knockout competition before the start of the 2013 Toyota Premiership season. Not only are matches available live on AFLTV, but also as a full replay, meaning that even if you can’t catch the game, you can still watch the whole match anytime afterwards. We hope you enjoy the new service and join us to catch all the action for the s eason ahead! AFLTV is the new official worldwide (excluding Austraila and New Zealand) multi-platform home of Australian Football online, offering coverage of every 2013 regular season game. The new service is launching with matches available for the 2013 NAB Cup on your desktop, tablet or mobile... 100% free!"]
[Ed. note: We have posted the AFL press release on the new service in the comments below.]

* We have yet to receive word on what Canadian fans can expect this year though again we have no reason to think we will see anything other than the same coverage as last season. We have sent messages to TSN and are awaiting their response. We'll update this when we receive it. [Update on 8 Feb.: TSN will offer the same coverage in 2013 as in 2012. One game per week. Coverage begins with Round 1 and we will have the entire season schedule posted on TV schedule page soon.]

* We contacted MHz and they have confirmed that the AFL will not return to their networks in 2013.

Article last changed on Saturday, July 16, 2016 - 1:50 PM EDT


Comments

"* Internet based TV coverage will not return to LiveSport.TV in 2013. We are expecting the AFL and Telstra (the rights holder) to make an announcement during the first 10 days of February on what will be offered in 2013."

Does this mean I need to cancel my subscription? It was for the AFL only, so if they're dropping it, it shouldn't automatically renew then should it?

 

The unofficial word we have is that Perform Ltd (which was the platform provider for LiveAFL.tv) won't charge anyone for the 2013 season and will refund any fees already paid for this year. The new service will have a subscription option and details should be out with the announcement shortly. Whether subscriptions will transfer or auto-renew to the new service isn't known. Keep in mind that Telstra is the actual rights holder and that has not changed so if Telstra did the billing last year, they will likely do it this year.

-Rob
AFANA Chairman Emeritus and Site Admin

Posted by Jake (not verified) on February 11, 2013

I think I'm doing a good job of resisting the temptation to panic over what the change to Fox will mean for the playoffs and next season.

It seems there's no rest for U.S. AFL fans who are hoping for long-term stability in television availability. :)

I am hopeful that the change to the Internet package is for the better, especially if they'll get these games on an iPad. I had the package last season and while I appreciated getting every game, the video quality wasn't so hot. I've watched other channels online and I know it's possible to get good video quality.

Wow.. just saw this link off to the side about digital distribution as I was typing this: afltv

Free NAB Cup and available on IOS devices.

$120 (AU) for season pass.

Posted by Jake (not verified) on February 11, 2013

I was already exchanging e-mails with someone from Rightster about a technical glitch in their sign-up page (now fixed) and have asked about the "full schedule" issue. Both the AFL site and the AFL TV site seem pretty clear on "every game". Yet 225 games is only about half the games. More in price and only half the games would be quite a step back from last year. As Rightster is in the U.K. and it's evening over there, I may not get a response until tomorrow. (And Rob will probably have one before me anyway.) I did sign-up for the free NAB Cup which starts at the end of the week. While a minor thing, it is nice that the site has a switch to show upcoming game times in Australia time or your local time. And I did watch a bit on my iPad of the 2012 Final they have up. While not HD, it didn't look too bad. Of course, that's an on-demand video... we'll see what a live feed looks like. Playing the same game in my computer browser didn't look a whole lot better than what we got last year. Just heard from the Rightster guy. He says he'll look into the total number of games question.
Posted by Jake (not verified) on February 11, 2013

Ugh! If I could delete a comment I would where I fretted about only half the games being shown. I did some stupid math that ended up with me thinking there should be over 400 games in a season, due in part to what I read in the article above. (Or mis-read) That would be true if there were 18 games each week, but there aren't. Yes, I admit I did poorly in math as a kid. Here's the info that Rightster gave me (don't know if they worked in byes, though): "There are 23 rounds of the season each with 9 games = 207 games. Add the Road to the finals matches (10 games) = 217 games Then there are another 8 additional games which will be broadcast. This excludes the NAB Cup"

My guess is that the original number was in error and the new number is actually closer to correct. Each team plays 22 games (not 23). That means, allowing for the three "short rounds" where 6 teams have byes each week, you get this: 20 weeks of 9 games = 180; 3 weeks of 6 games=18;  Finals = 9 games. That's 207. NAB Cup = 33 games but not all of those may be available, we don't know for sure.

-Rob
AFANA Chairman Emeritus and Site Admin

Posted by Bob on February 12, 2013

Jake writes: "While a minor thing, it is nice that the site has a switch to show upcoming game times in Australia time or your local time."

Where is this switch to show upcoming games in local time?  I signed up for the NAB Cup this morning and entered all the settings to specify my time zone, but the schedule still shows AU time.  I also logged off then back in in case the switch takes effect on logon, but no effect.

Posted by USA Fan (not verified) on February 17, 2013

Having just watched a game from the NAB cup, I noticed something was a bit off. Then I went to the FAQ page. The resolution at which they are streaming is pathetic. This is not 2005. 512 x 288p for desktop For iOS: 640 x 360p 536.0 kbit/s; 25.000 fps; 480 x 270p 336.0 kbit/s; 25.000 fps; 416 x 234p 200.0 kbit/s; 25.000 fps; So, the best you are ever going to get is 360p. Hang on, let me get out my 17 inch CRT. Livesport was streaming 720p last year. It looked great. This is a huge downgrade.
Posted by Rick Dawes (not verified) on February 18, 2013

Yes, I did the same thing. Hooked it up to my tv via hdmi cable and thought the content looked fine. Two things I have noticed on first weekend of a little concern- the audio for the Essendon/Western live game sounded as though they were broadcasting in a tin shed. When I viewed the replay, it was corrected. And the same bugaboo that plagued Perform group (and seemingly forever) is the lack of a complete available round (all games)promptly after the game ends. For instance, I'm typing this at 1130 pm Sunday nt CST time US and the Adelaide NAB group has completed their games roughly 18 hours ago while their new website quotes "you will be able to watch a completed quarter shortly after the whistle has blown for that quarter." All in all I'm not too worried. Kind of a tradition for me now to keep waiting on complete round replays. But I didn't find any problems with the quality. PS. I'm still trying to find the 2nd half of Freo/Geelong match. When you click on that quarter it shows St. Kilda v Port 2nd half.
Posted by Rick Dawes (not verified) on February 19, 2013

Just a quick note to follow up my post last night. All of the games have been made available from the first weekend of NAB and corrected the Freo/Geelong 2nd half. I don't know, but if Rightster (??) our new provider keeps this up, I may get spoiled. It usually took me 2-3 emails to Perform Group to get any attention paid to a problem. And after viewing more of this weekends content on just my old standard laptop, I don't think there's any doubt the quality IS better. Hopefully still singing this tune come July-August -Rick
Posted by Jake (not verified) on February 18, 2013

Funny this topic should come up as I was curious what I was going to find watching the recorded games from the weekend. I have a Mac Mini connected to a 60" set via HDMI. Overall, I was really, really impressed with the video at full screen. It looked better than a number of the standard definition games I see on the regular FSP channel. (I also watch a lot of NRL which looks really bad on standard FSP.) One thing I did notice is that the video seemed to, for lack of a better word, stutter every-so-slightly in some games. It was like frames were being dropped every five seconds. Didn't know if it was my imagination at first. But then it was more noticeable on the crawl when they were listing who was on the field for a particular game. When watched not in full screen as a quick test, I didn't notice the stutter. (And I didn't even think to try a game on my iPad this weekend, so can't comment on how that looked.) Yet, in other games, I didn't notice it too much, or I just got used to it. I watched about 7 games over the weekend. The games where there was a lot of sunshine (like the earlier games in Perth) were a bit harder to watch because of the brightness. I did try to keep in mind all the variables going on... my network connection, the feed from any given game, etc. But, and this is just me, I do think the recorded feed is much better than the service we had last year. Like I said... a 60" TV and the video is easily watchable and about as good as an SD channel. Of course, I'll be really curious to watch a live game and see how the video quality compares. (The games were on too late for me to want to watch live this past weekend.) But just on this past weekend, I was impressed. To me, this is a step up from last year where their high-quality feed wasn't that great, didn't seem a stitch different from their medium quality feed, and had fluctuations of quality level during the game.
Posted by PacificNorthWe… (not verified) on March 13, 2013

A hearty thanks to the Admin and many quality commenters. I used Fox Soccer Plus last year but we have since cut the cable. Our existing laptops are ancient and I am looking at dual solutions to view the AFL this year: 1) internet set top boxes like the VIZIO Co-Star to access web content on my TV, or, 2) buying a cheap laptop / tablet solution that I could run through my TV. Having failed to get set-up in time for the NAB Cup trial, anyone out there have a particular angle on which solution might be the most reliable? Any input is appreciated, I am (obviously!) not all that sophisticated about tech.
Posted by Rick Dawes (not verified) on February 22, 2013

So far a huge amount of "Well done's" to the AFL for the quality of work that's being done by the new provider of internet AFL content (Rightster). I know it's only 2 weeks in to the NAB cup, but if they keep this up, I'll remain a customer. The video is tremendously better than what it was last year. Last year when you clicked on "high quality" from "medium" there was no appreciable difference. Now when you do that, there is a big difference. And all three matches from last night were available first thing this a.m. I'm impressed -Rick
Posted by Jake (not verified) on February 23, 2013

I just finished watching the GCS/BL/HH series and was also impressed again with the video quality, especially as I've got it full-screen on my 60" set. While I hope we continue to have games on some national channel (FSP for now) in HD for years to come, I did have that passing thought that if there was no other TV coverage beyond what we're getting from the AFL right now, I could actually be happy just watching it through their site. I'm going to try to catch the first of the games late tonight live just to see what the live streaming is like. I'll be curious to see if it's as strong as the on-demand games.
Posted by GeorgeM on April 01, 2013

 I notice some people seem happy with the video quality from afltv.afl.com.au; while it's obviously better than nothing - and tastes vary - I don't think it's very good.

Whether in error or by design, the NAB Cup replays were also available directly through the AFL's site without any geoblocking:and in my opinion, these were of much better quality.

Despite what is claimed on the afltv site - what I got from them at "High" was 1280x720@1150kbps and at "Medium" I got 640x360@700kbps. In comparison - the top quality version from the AFL site was 720x400 in variable bit rate, averaging around 2000kbps and peaking at nearly 4000kbps. 

For those of you not into this kind of detail - a higher bitrate helps prevent those blocky compression artifacts during rapid motion in the video, which happens often in footy! While I can understand someone with a huge tv set possibly preferring the 720p version - I found it blocky enough to be difficult to watch. I'm planning on writing a letter to Rightster complaining about the compression artifacts during the NAB Cup; I don't think I'll mention the AFL site because if that was an error, I'd rather just let it be. ;)

Posted by admincms on March 21, 2013

For fans who do not have time remaining on any subscription from last season, the AFL / AFL-TV people are sending out notices that read as follows:

"Hi xxxxx,

We hope you've had a chance to enjoy the Live NAB Cup streaming on AFL TV over the past few weeks, Brisbane Lions were victorious in this year's final and like them we are now gearing up for the launch of the 2013 Regular Season.

From Friday 22nd March we will be streaming every game of the 2013 AFL premiership live, starting with Adelaide Crows vs. Essendon, to catch the action you will need to purchase one of our subscription passes if you haven't already.

Our passes are tailored to put you in total control of what you watch and when so grab the pass that's best for you from afltv.afl.com.au:

Full Season Pass
The Full Season Pass will give you complete access to the entire 2013 Toyota AFL Premiership Season, Finals Series and 2013 Toyota AFL Grand Final All for just - $120AUD.

Monthly Recurring Pass
Our Monthly recurring pass will provide you with access to all 2013 Toyota AFL Premiership season matches played for 30 days from purchase - $23.99 AUD (please note this pass automatically renews every calendar month until cancelled or the end of the season)

Weekly Pass
Our weekly pass provides access to all 2013 Toyota AFL Premiership season matches played in the seven days from the date and time of your purchase at $12.99 AUD

Not only is every match available live on AFL TV, but also as On Demand video content, meaning that even if you can't catch the game, you can still watch the whole match anytime afterwards.

To access AFLTV simply visit afltv.afl.com.au and login using your email address and the password we emailed you several weeks ago. If you no longer have this password then simply use the forgotten password option on the site to have it emailed to you.

We hope you will enjoy the new season ahead and welcome you in joining us to catch all the action!

The AFLTV Team"

-Rob
AFANA Chairman Emeritus and Site Admin

Here is the AFL press release on the new internet service. Since it is long and doesn't add much to the above post we've put it here: 
"The AFL today announced the launch of a new international subscription service, AFLTV, offering overseas fans unprecedented viewing access to AFL matches.
Developed in conjunction with Rightster, the online video distribution and marketing specialist, AFLTV is an innovative subscription service providing access to live and on demand AFL games to fans outside of Australia and New Zealand.
This is the only international service that offers exclusive access to every single 2013 Toyota AFL season match live and on-demand across multiple devices - desktop, phone and tablet - with a range of new purchasing options designed to accommodate the differing needs of international AFL fans.
For the first time international fans have the choice of a range of purchasing options, including a full Season Pass, a Weekly Pass, a Monthly Recurring Pass, Finals packages and a Grand Final pass. Furthermore, AFL fans in Australia can purchase passes as gifts for others as well as pre-prepare their subscription while planning an overseas trip. As an added bonus, full Season Pass subscribers will also be able to watch the AFL Brownlow Medal Count, the Four 'N Twenty All Australian Awards and the AFL Hall of Fame events live.
AFLTV is separate to the domestic AFL Live App and AFL Club Apps that were successfully launched in 2012 and saw over 1.3 million downloads in its first year. As part of the AFLTV subscription service Rightster provides live customer and technical support to fans during all 2013 Toyota AFL season matches.
AFL Deputy CEO, Gillon McLachlan, said AFL fans abroad would be the big winners following the launch of AFLTV.
"AFLTV realises the various wants of our international fans and ensures they're able to watch every game of the 2013 Toyota AFL season, anywhere in the world," Mr McLachlan said.
"This subscription service provides fans with unprecedented viewing and purchase options and will continue to showcase the game to a global audience.
"Rightster has a proven track record when it comes to providing digital distribution solutions for major sports around the world and we're pleased to have their expertise and experience."
Charlie Muirhead, Founder and CEO at Rightster, said: "As consumers increasingly seek high-quality video content online, the AFL is spearheading the industry in developing a dedicated solution for its global fan base.
"Rightster is proud to be facilitating the launch of AFLTV and greatly looks forward to working with the largest sporting league in Australia. We're confident that our solution will continue to address the digital needs of content owners and their audiences worldwide."
AFLTV can be accessed at: [Ed. note: link removed, outdated].
Ends
Note - To celebrate the launch of AFLTV, those AFL fans located outside Australia or New Zealand will be able to enjoy free access to the full AFLTV service for the duration of the 2013 NAB Cup
. "

-Rob
AFANA Chairman Emeritus and Site Admin

Posted by Rick Dawes (not verified) on March 14, 2013

Rob: Do you have any info from the AFL or Rightster in regards to when/if there will be alternate payment options this season. So far the only thing thats been advertised is the season package which I"m very leery of doing again for obvious reasons (the fact that a few of us are still owed refunds, etc). Could AFL/Rightster be thinking that the fact that they made the NAB cup available for free that that would serve as the remainder of the year long package if you bought the yearly pass from Perform Group last year? Just curious about these matters as opening bounce for regular home and away season is one week away. thanks Rick

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