Australian Football Association of North America
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2015)|
The Australian Football Association of North America (AFANA) is a non-profit organization that formed out of the campaign to save television coverage of Australian rules football in the United States and Canada in 1996. AFANA has an emphasis on the fan, and aims to help the game to develop and to improve its exposure in North America, including better TV coverage.
AFANA was co-founded by three members of the 1995-1996 campaign: Richard Lipp of Kansas City, Wade Hinkle of Dallas, and Rob de Santos (then of Vienna, WV) when it was learned that the sport had no TV coverage for the 1996 season. The campaign was ultimately successful and coverage began on the new ESPN2 ("the deuce") network in June. However, the relationship between the Australian Football League, AFANA, and ESPN continued to be strained and after the 1997 season, the network again dropped the sport. With AFANA's help, the sport moved to the new Fox Sports World channel the following year.
The organization has played a part in every effort to keep TV coverage since it's founding including network changes in 1998, 2005, and 2010. A major success of the lobby group was the televising of live AFL matches beginning in 2006 by Setanta Sports (USA). Current TV coverage is again on Fox networks including Fox Sports 2 and Fox Soccer Plus, a premium network.
Coverage was briefly lost when Setanta Sports USA went into bankruptcy in August, 2010. ESPN picked up coverage on it's internet channel, then ESPN360 (later ESPN3) plus about 4 matches a year and the Grand Final on ESPN2. ESPN did not renew the contract after 2011. Weekly coverage returned in 2012 to Fox Soccer Plus the successor channel to Fox Sports World.
For the 2015 season, officials at the Australian Football League have told AFANA coverage will continue on Fox Soccer Plus and on through the 2016 season. A post on the AFANA website says Fox Soccer Plus will broadcast a minimum of 2 live games per week. The network has also committed to show all playoff matches, leading up to and including the Grand Final. AFANA consolidates the schedules of every network in North America which carries the sport into one listing on it's web site, a major convenience for fans.
Grand Final Parties
One of AFANA's major services is the posting of announcements of the many AFL Grand Final parties held in North America (and sometimes Europe and Asia). These yearly parties are typically held the day of the Grand Final and usually feature Australian food and beverages as the staple refreshments for the event.
- "Television Info - Aussie Rules TV Coverage for North America in 2015". 2015-01-20. Retrieved 2015-01-28.
- "Aussie Rules TV Schedules for 2015". 2015-01-28. Retrieved 2015-01-28.