USA AFL TV Exposure

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ibd77

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Apr 2, 2014
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Im sort of stunned by the AFL's lack of interest in promoting the sport into the USA based on the explosion of interest it created last year during the Covid shutdown of live sport in the US.

Currently there is no games being televised via Fox & ESPN where they were shown last year. Apparently the AFL & the US networks cannot agree to terms & conditions of the telecasting AFL games into the USA. Is the AFL being too greedy or the US networks trying to get something for nothing? who knows, but the AFL should make their sport more accessible via selective free telecasts via Youtube into international audiences with option to buy an full subscription to all games and supporting TV shows via their WatchAFL app or international club memberships.
 
Sep 4, 2020
89
81
Tampa, FL, USA
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GWS
So, just to update this, Fox Sports eventually got a deal done and they're broadcasting a handful of games per week on FS1, FS2 or Fox Soccer Plus.

Which is all well and good until you realize they're only selecting from Foxtel-produced games. Which severely limits the quality (and quantity, I guess) of games that can be shown. It'd be nice if the 7 games could find their way up here, too.
 

RedV3x

Premiership Player
Dec 14, 2015
3,452
878
AFL Club
Fremantle
Im sort of stunned by the AFL's lack of interest in promoting the sport into the USA based on the explosion of interest it created last year during the Covid shutdown of live sport in the US.

Currently there is no games being televised via Fox & ESPN where they were shown last year. Apparently the AFL & the US networks cannot agree to terms & conditions of the telecasting AFL games into the USA. Is the AFL being too greedy or the US networks trying to get something for nothing? who knows, but the AFL should make their sport more accessible via selective free telecasts via Youtube into international audiences with option to buy an full subscription to all games and supporting TV shows via their WatchAFL app or international club memberships.
OK, the AFL are probably focussed on their WatchAFL but obviously they are only selling to the converted.
So as not to dilute the season content then maybe they should have targeted rounds where every game is highly promoted.
Obviously the start of the season, middle of the season and finals would be apt targets.
 

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RedV3x

Premiership Player
Dec 14, 2015
3,452
878
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Fremantle
So, just to update this, Fox Sports eventually got a deal done and they're broadcasting a handful of games per week on FS1, FS2 or Fox Soccer Plus.

Which is all well and good until you realize they're only selecting from Foxtel-produced games. Which severely limits the quality (and quantity, I guess) of games that can be shown. It'd be nice if the 7 games could find their way up here, too.
I use a site NewsNow that lists all the headlines on a various subjects. I select "Aussie Rules".
Every day I peruse the headlines w.r.t. AFL. and everyday Fox has negative headlines.
Not only that, Fox searches out negative headlines that nobody else seems interested in
and you'll never see Fox pumping up AFL. They have highly vested interests and only reluctantly accept AFL.
When Fox was dissed with NRL, Fox went out of their way to show how much they help AFL.
Now that spat is over, things are back to (unfortunate) normal.
 
Sep 4, 2020
89
81
Tampa, FL, USA
AFL Club
GWS
I use a site NewsNow that lists all the headlines on a various subjects. I select "Aussie Rules".
Every day I peruse the headlines w.r.t. AFL. and everyday Fox has negative headlines.
Not only that, Fox searches out negative headlines that nobody else seems interested in
and you'll never see Fox pumping up AFL. They have highly vested interests and only reluctantly accept AFL.
When Fox was dissed with NRL, Fox went out of their way to show how much they help AFL.
Now that spat is over, things are back to (unfortunate) normal.
How do you use that site? I only found one article in the last month with the search "aussie rules" in the category of sports, and it was from the end of June and from Reuters. Nothing from Fox.

Fox Sports USA only seems to care about AFL and NRL as overnight filler programming. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, to be honest. I'm not expecting to see AFL stories on FoxSports.com; there are enough Aussie-based websites I can get news.

The biggest issue is the lack of quality games on American television. It'd be like if the only NFL games Aussies got were 1 p.m. CBS and Fox games. Sure, it may convert some people to the sport and buy the international package, but it also means the prime-time, Sunday Night Football games would never make it on air. But I think the NFL knows it'll sell more packages by marketing games with Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes than it will whoever the Arizona Cardinals' quarterback is.

Basically, I don't think it's Fox's fault as much as it's the AFL's fault. Fox Sports USA has either made it clear it won't, or maybe just can't, air 7's slate of games. It's time to find a second partner. It'd be great if it were ESPN, but there are other networks that I'm sure could use the overnight programming.
 
Sep 4, 2020
89
81
Tampa, FL, USA
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Although, I think the biggest issue with a lot of the 7 games is they start either at 5 or 6 a.m. in the eastern U.S.

FS1's morning show starts at 7:30. CBS Sports Network has a morning show that starts at 6 a.m. I'm not sure off the top of my head what ESPN and ESPN2 look like before 8, but a 6 a.m. first bounce all but eliminates the possibility of an AFL game being over before Get Up.

But Fox has FS2 and ESPN has a million different networks that air nothing but reruns all night. I truly don't get why they can't pick up some more AFL games.
 

RedV3x

Premiership Player
Dec 14, 2015
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How do you use that site? .


Basically, I don't think it's Fox's fault as much as it's the AFL's fault. Fox Sports USA has either made it clear it won't, or maybe just can't, air 7's slate of games. It's time to find a second partner. It'd be great if it were ESPN, but there are other networks that I'm sure could use the overnight programming.
I have no idea where the roadblock exists but before the big four came on American cable AFL was number three sport.
You'd think that was enough to continue with AFL in some form at low cost.
What AFL needs is a program like the old "Winners" on ABC - a wrap up of games with highlights etc.
People like the NFL highlights but don't realise a real NFL game is severely drawn out.
 

RedV3x

Premiership Player
Dec 14, 2015
3,452
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But Fox has FS2 and ESPN has a million different networks that air nothing but reruns all night. I truly don't get why they can't pick up some more AFL games.
I see that as well. There is absolutely no need for live games as it would be difficult for anyone outside to know the AFL scores outside of Australia
unless they checked on the internet.
 
Sep 4, 2020
89
81
Tampa, FL, USA
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GWS
What AFL needs is a program like the old "Winners" on ABC - a wrap up of games with highlights etc.
People like the NFL highlights but don't realise a real NFL game is severely drawn out.
This is where I think Fox Sports really fails. Unless something's changed since last year (doubtful), they don't air any pre or post-match coverage, and in fact cut away as quickly as possible after the final siren. I'm not saying stick with Fox Footy through First Crack or anything, but at least show us the song; that's such a uniquely Aussie thing (at least as far as professional sports go) that I think could help sell the sport here. It certainly helped inch me over the line.
 
Sep 4, 2020
89
81
Tampa, FL, USA
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GWS
I see that as well. There is absolutely no need for live games as it would be difficult for anyone outside to know the AFL scores outside of Australia
unless they checked on the internet.
I don't often check the listings of FS2 or Fox Soccer Plus (basically Fox's third-choice network for sports; the only soccer rights they have left are MLS lol), but I know they used to air replays of games they already aired live later in the day and week. So that is something Fox does, but it still doesn't solve the problem of a lack of 7 games.

To be brutally honest, there's really no excuse Fox can make apart from not wanting to air a non-Fox produced broadcast. FS2 and FSP are devoid of original content, to the point it's my opinion they should be closed or relaunched as literally anything else. We could speculate on how games should be aired (live, tape-delayed, both...), but so long as the only partner in the U.S. is Fox, it really doesn't matter. They're going to continue to drop the ball with this the same way they've dropped the ball with every national sports network they've attempted since the 1990s.

But I'm not bitter lol
 
Sep 4, 2020
89
81
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In a perfect world, FS1 or FS2 would also pick up some studio programming like AFL360 or AFL Tonight, whether live or tape-delayed, to help promote the live (or tape-delayed) games.

But again, these networks are horribly mismanaged, so that won't happen anytime soon.
 

Mr north man

Club Legend
Mar 12, 2016
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In a perfect world, FS1 or FS2 would also pick up some studio programming like AFL360 or AFL Tonight, whether live or tape-delayed, to help promote the live (or tape-delayed) games.

But again, these networks are horribly mismanaged, so that won't happen anytime soon.
How is the game treated by Americans do they look at our game as a bit of a circus or do they have a bit of time for it
 

RedV3x

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Dec 14, 2015
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How is the game treated by Americans
When cable television was in it's formative years and AFL was number three on cable television then Australian Football boomed and was responsible for the formation of many clubs at that time.

do they look at our game as a bit of a circus or do they have a bit of time for it
Today Australian Football in North America is promoted in various ways, fitness through fun, camaraderie, competition, national representation etc.
Today the USAFL and AFL are trying to distance themselves from the "biffs and bumps" videos of the time.
Even the Foster's Cup promotion tended to highlight the brutality with the spectacular, probably attract NFL fans.
 

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Sep 4, 2020
89
81
Tampa, FL, USA
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GWS
How is the game treated by Americans do they look at our game as a bit of a circus or do they have a bit of time for it
Most people I mention the sport to either think I'm talking about rugby or just straight up don't have anything in mind (so I try to explain it as a blend of sports Americans know; like basketball, gridiron, volleyball and soccer all in one).

Those who do know what the sport is seem to appreciate it. I think some see it as a novelty to watch when they're up late at night. I actually happened to be walking around an ice hockey rink with a Sherrin in my hand (long story as to why) and some guy knew exactly what I was holding, and mentioned how he loved watching it when he'd go on cruises, presumably because that's the only time he's watching cable TV at that hour on weekends. It didn't sound like he kept up with it at home, but it also didn't seem like he thought it to be some crazy circus, as you put it.

It also helps that Americans tend to like Aussies. (Well, at least what we're exposed to... Steve Irwin, Outback Steakhouse, Fosters... lol) So even though the sport might be wild at first glance, I think we're less likely to be turned off by it than if it were coming from, say, China or India.
 
Sep 4, 2020
89
81
Tampa, FL, USA
AFL Club
GWS
Today Australian Football in North America is promoted in various ways, fitness through fun, camaraderie, competition, national representation etc.
Today the USAFL and AFL are trying to distance themselves from the "biffs and bumps" videos of the time.
Even the Foster's Cup promotion tended to highlight the brutality with the spectacular, probably attract NFL fans.
I think the USAFL is definitely the way to grow the sport. Soccer's rise in the U.S. was in large part to all those "soccer moms" in the 90s, dropping their kids off to play the sport after school, leading them to love it by the time they grew up.

Youth footy would be an excellent thing to start building upon at the grassroots level. Just gotta shake the old reputation of this being some crazy version of gridiron without pads, though.

Perhaps it's time for the AFL to redo this video?
 

RedV3x

Premiership Player
Dec 14, 2015
3,452
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Fremantle
I try to explain it as a blend of sports Americans know; like basketball, gridiron, volleyball and soccer all in one.
Which IMO is the TOTALLY wrong way to go about promoting the game.
Just think about - do i have to have knowledge of all these skilled and complicated games to play Australian Football ?
I prefer to say that Australian Football is a simple game that involves kicking, catching, hand-passing, running and tackling.
That the aim of the game is to move the ball close enough to kicking the ball through two tall posts.
If you have to make comparisons then say other sports, in part. have some of the elements of Australian Football.

It also helps that Americans tend to like Aussies
it doesn't hurt , but is is surprising how countries with little connection to Australia, no coverage of Australia and not speaking English,
have established very strong leagues.
 

RedV3x

Premiership Player
Dec 14, 2015
3,452
878
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Fremantle
I think the USAFL is definitely the way to grow the sport.
Yes and this is the usual process.
In fact IMO the USAFL should invest in a national league. The components are already there.
Simply grow the extra step where regional premiers play off to become national premiers.

To grow the sport of Australian Football, the U.S.A. has to look no further than it's northern neighbour Canada.
Canada has been able to introduce Australian Football into the school system and is on track to get sufficient participation
numbers for Australian Football to be declared an official sport of Canada.

The U.S.A. has a college system and out of that players are drafted into the NFL from the higher division colleges.
IMO someone should be targeting lower division colleges to create Australian Football leagues.
 
Sep 4, 2020
89
81
Tampa, FL, USA
AFL Club
GWS
Which IMO is the TOTALLY wrong way to go about promoting the game.
Just think about - do i have to have knowledge of all these skilled and complicated games to play Australian Football ?
I prefer to say that Australian Football is a simple game that involves kicking, catching, hand-passing, running and tackling.
That the aim of the game is to move the ball close enough to kicking the ball through two tall posts.
If you have to make comparisons then say other sports, in part. have some of the elements of Australian Football.
I don't explain it as a blend of those sports to try to sell them on playing the game as much as I'm simply trying to explain how it's not rugby (or, for some people who really don't get it, soccer). It's really more to try to convince them to watch the sport on TV (and if they want to play it after watching it, even better). My logic is the easier you make the point of entry to something, the more people will walk through that door, and I think using comparisons to sports already Americans know is an easy way in.
 
Sep 4, 2020
89
81
Tampa, FL, USA
AFL Club
GWS
The U.S.A. has a college system and out of that players are drafted into the NFL from the higher division colleges.
IMO someone should be targeting lower division colleges to create Australian Football leagues.
If we wait until they're in college, it's too late. By that point, the best athletes have already developed their craft in their given sport. You may be able to convert the occasional Mason Cox, but it'd be a hell of a lot easier to do it at a younger age.

The biggest hinderance to this is travel cost. It's expensive to travel across the U.S., and the idea that you have to take your kids out of town to play the sport on the regular will likely make a lot of parents (understandably) balk when they can just have their kids play in a local soccer league and literally never leave their home zip code.

We need some Aussie ex-pats *all over the country* working with younger kids, and maybe state-level leagues, broken up into divisions, may be possible in a few year's time.
 

RedV3x

Premiership Player
Dec 14, 2015
3,452
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I think using comparisons to sports already Americans know is an easy way in.
I don't want to sound harsh but the only comparison that's makes any sense is Gaelic Football which is not very well known.
Yes, saying it is not like any other sport (that they know) makes sense but it is important to have a simple description on hand.
I have found, Americans or should I say Australians in America generally are over descriptive including too much minor stuff.
With a hierarchal approach there is no need to mention behinds, bouncing and bouncedowns etc to people ask.
 

RedV3x

Premiership Player
Dec 14, 2015
3,452
878
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If we wait until they're in college, it's too late.
Well, getting juniors involved would be preferable but that's not happening and IMO the college system can be targeted.

By that point, the best athletes have already developed their craft in their given sport. You may be able to convert the occasional Mason Cox, but it'd be a hell of a lot easier to do it at a younger age.
We're not greedy. We're not after the "best athletes", we're after people who'll play Australian Football right now in the U.S.A. We're looking for people who would consider playing soccer or Lacrosse in college or those that know they are NOT NFL or NBA prospects. It is not the duty of the USAFL to recruit for the AFL but to develop the USAFL.

The biggest hinderance to this is travel cost. It's expensive to travel across the U.S., and the idea that you have to take your kids out of town to play the sport on the regular will likely make a lot of parents (understandably) balk when they can just have their kids play in a local soccer league and literally never leave their home zip code.
Yes I know travel is expensive in the U.S.A. (but a lot less than Australia) and that is why I have suggested a national league based on existing regional leagues with only minimal playoff games (three) as extra. Clubs do find the money to attend the National Championships. The USAFL actually plays a lot less 18-a-side games associated with interstate travel as more clubs develop metro leagues saving travel for club games. Along with metro leagues clubs are also conducting alternative formats like junior, womens, tag, mixed Ausball etc to attract as many people as possible.
As I understand it colleges play in conferences to reduce travel as much as possible and colleges play many sports such as soccer and Lacross at a very amateur level.
 

melbournemartin

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Jul 22, 2003
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So, I actually play in the USAFL. I believe there is an impression here that the USAFL league has more control/organisation than it really does... Here is how a year typically looks:

First, there really isn't a "league". There is no ladder. No qualifying for finals/playoffs. Think of it more like international cricket, where you have kind of random ad hoc tours, which result in the teams getting ranked, but that ranking only determines which division you play in at Nationals.

National Championships in October, with 4 mens and 2 womens divisions. You play a minimum 3 shortened games of 2 x 20 minute halves, and then a fourth if you make the Grand Final. It's actually a lot of football for one weekend. They also get AFL umpires over (Razor was good value last time...) Nationals is completely run by the USAFL. It's a great tournament with good quality footy and a great vibe.

East, Central and West Regional Championships in July. Structure there varies, but it's typically shortened games. Regionals is sort of run by USAFL but relies a lot on the host city as well. This year we actually did six smaller "sub-regionals". It's pretty fun overall but not at the level of Nationals.

Beyond that, pretty much everything is organised at the club level. You'll typically play 6-7 "proper games" against other cities. Sometimes that is just a 1v1 full 18's four quarter game. Sometimes 3 teams might go to one city and have a mini tournament. Often traveling teams struggle to bring a full 22 so you might have two traveling teams combine against the one home team. If you are in California, Texas, The Mid West or East Coast then you can probably have largely driveable games (~ < 7 hour drive) and maybe a couple of flights. Beyond that you play a lot of "metro games" which are intra-club scrimmages. Some bigger teams (e.g. Denver, New York) can have a bit of a mini season there, but for smaller clubs it's really just practice matches.

A key point here is that the USAFL basically does nothing outside of Nationals and Regionals. It's purely up to the club volunteers to get the season going, and it's a non-negligible amount of work. These clubs all survive based on local enthusiasm.

Money wise you typically end up paying the USAFL about 150 bucks per year as dues, which is required to play Nationals. I suspect this goes into the Nationals organisation and ground rentals, plus I think maybe one person salary. You then pay your club maybe 50 or 100 bucks. But then all of those trips you are largely out of pocket. So really it's a pretty bloody expensive league to play on when you consider all the travel requirements.
 

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