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AFL and ESPN in US / Canada TV rights deal

North America

Press release from the AFL.

ESPN and the Australian Football League (AFL) have reached a multiyear rights deal for live multi-platform coverage in the United States and Canada. The agreement brings fans in the U.S. and Canada access to up to three live matches in each round of the home and away season for the remainder of this season and through the end of 2011. It also includes a number of Finals Series matches, including the 2009 Toyota AFL Grand Final from the Melbourne Cricket Ground in September.

In the United States, matches will be streamed live on ESPN360.com, ESPN’s signature live sports broadband network, as well as select AFL matches – including the Grand Final - being televised on ESPN2. In Canada, TSN or TSN2 will televise at least one live or delayed match per week.

The AFL’s agreement with ESPN in the U.S. and Canada follows last week’s confirmation that the league had secured ESPN as its broadcast rights partner in the UK and Ireland. ESPN also delivers the AFL to Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean region.

AFL Chief Operating Officer Gillon McLachlan said, “We are extremely pleased that ESPN will be working with us in the United States and Canada. They are a global leader in multimedia sports entertainment and the collaboration will ensure our expanding supporter base in the U.S. and Canada enjoy the highest standards in live AFL broadcast coverage going forward.

McLachlan also said the shift towards digital media coverage reflected the growing demand from sports consumers around the globe for live online content: “ESPN360.com has quickly become an online destination of choice for American sports fans and we are delighted that AFL will have a strong presence on the platform.”

Added Tim Bunnell, senior vice president of programming, ESPN International, “AFL presents a great opportunity for us as a company and is in line with our commitment to covering the world sports scene through our media platforms. The AFL and ESPN have a long relationship, stretching back to the early years of our company. We look forward to bringing the excitement and passion of Australian football back to fans in North America.”

Coverage will begin Friday, August 7 live in the U.S. and on delay Saturday, August 8 in Canada, with the Round 19 clash between finals aspirants Carlton and Geelong from the MCG.

ESPN – AFL United States and Canada Rights Deal Coverage Summary

United States

  • Live streaming coverage of three matches per round and finals matches on ESPN360.com.
  • At least four matches per regular season in 2010 and 2011 and both Grand Finals live.
  • Live coverage of the 2009 Grand Final on ESPN2.


  • At least one match per week live or delayed on TSN or TSN2.

    About ESPN360.com

    ESPN360.com is ESPN's live sports broadband network, giving fans a 24/7 online destination that delivers more than 3,200 live, global sports events annually. It is available at no cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection from an affiliated service provider. ESPN360.com is currently available in nearly 41 million homes via approximately 45 Internet service providers nationwide, including Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, RCN, Insight, Frontier, Cavalier, Charter, Mediacom, Conway, Grande Communications and many more. It is also available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers connected to on-campus educational networks and on-base military networks.

    About TSN

    Official broadcaster of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and London 2012 Games of the Olympiad, TSN, a division of CTVglobemedia, is Canada's Sports Leader and Canada’s most-watched specialty network. TSN's comprehensive broadcast schedule features an exciting lineup of sports including NHL, IIHF, CFL, NFL, NBA, Blue Jays Baseball, Season of Champions Curling, Golf’s Majors, F1, NASCAR Sprint Cup, Grand Slam Tennis, Championship Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts events. TSN properties include TSN2, TSN MOBILE and the industry leading sports website TSN.ca. TSN delivers more sports coverage in High Definition than any other network in Canada.

    AFANA also have more information here.

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    AFL and ESPN in US / Canada TV rights deal | 3 comments | Create New Account
    The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
    AFL and ESPN in US / Canada TV rights deal
    Authored by: Jake Anson on Saturday, August 08 2009 @ 01:35 am ACST

    I hope the TSN coverage improves - Setanta's screened the Saturday and Sunday afternoon games live, which broadcast at a reasonable hour in Canada. From the look of the schedule for the next two weeks, TSN's coverage is a huge step backward.

    AFL and ESPN in US / Canada TV rights deal
    Authored by: mfsinaz on Monday, August 31 2009 @ 12:51 am ACST

    I'm left out. This new deal can hardly be called coverage! I've gone from two matches per week to NONE. I live in an area with no access to ESPN360 and no hope of getting it. There are no games scheduled on ESPN2 that I can find either. Thank you so much AFL and ESPN! Seems to me if a broadcaster, ESPN, acquires the rights to air a particular show/event, AFL, and then does not make an effort to place the show/event on the air, that broadcaster is trying reduce interest in the said show/event. I am completely perplexed by this turn of events. What are they thinking? Is this supposed to be the best they can do? I can't believe that I've been cut out of AFL viewership. Stunned. That's the word. Stunned.

    AFL and ESPN in US / Canada TV rights deal
    Authored by: Aaron Richard on Monday, August 31 2009 @ 10:53 am ACST

    This sounds pretty poor.

    I can see their thinking to a point that on-demand TV and broadcasting via the net is probably the future, but the present deal doesn't seem to benefit anyone.

    But, they won't change anything unless they start getting a lot of complaints... so if everyone who's effected starts sending them emails and ringing them, it might push something.