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. Making the problem worse, the Mali v Germany U-20 game ran long, eventually requiring extra time and a shootout and ended 50 minutes in the timeslot for the live Collingwood v GWS game. When the soccer game ended, the Collingwood v GWS game was picked up in progress at around the 16:00 minute mark of the 2nd quarter. The AFL game continued through to halftime. During the half, about 1h 19min into the AFL slot, the other shoe dropped and the AFL match was again bumped off air, this time for the Uzbekistan v Senegal U-20 match. Coverage of the U-20 match was switched back to FS2 at around the 1h 56min mark and AFL coverage resumed on FSP (8:00 min left 3rd quarter). AFL coverage continued until the match end and the first post-match interview. It was then cut off before the team song and final comments at 2h 54m into the AFL slot. None of these switches of coverage were accompanied by any on-screen message on FSP and most were very abrupt and without warning.
Fox provided the following statement to the AFL: "This last weekend we had an enormous amount of live content to broadcast across our three networks, due to most of them running long we had to shuffle a lot of our programming and the decision was made to use FOX Soccer Plus as overflow for a high profile event that we have contractual obligations to air live in its entirety. Once we were able to shift this program off of Plus, we were able to get the AFL match back on air. It wasn’t an ideal situation, however we are making plans to ensure that we are better prepared in the future, and that if we must switch over any AFL matches that they will at least be moved to another FOX platform for the viewers to follow."
As of this time, the AFL game will not be replayed due to the on-going FIFA tournaments this week. We have shared fans frustration with how this was handled with the AFL. In the future, we would hope that at minimum, on screen messages would alert fans to unexpected interruptions in live coverage. This is a stark reminder that Aussie rules still lacks the supporters, ratings, and sponsors to be treated better. This means that beyond this incident, there is work to do to improve the ratings and sponsors for the sport in the USA.
Article last changed on Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - 9:12 PM EDT