One of the biggest growth markets in world sport has become fresh alternatives - more people are playing ultimate frisbee, American football, lacrosse, korfball, the Gaelic sports and (of course) Aussie Rules worldwide than ever before. Some predicted globalisation would kill off the smaller sports, but it seems that if anything more people are playing a wider variety.
An opening for a new alternative sport to fill a commercial niche market opened in Chile in 2002, and after some research, Adrian Barraza decided Aussie Rules was a prime candidate. The business never took off, but the code survived the project and grassroots footy in Santiago continues.
A dedicated group of footy faithfuls in the Kansai area of Japan are doing their bit to ensure footy in Japan is not just confined to Tokyo. Next Sunday a women's match, a kid's match and a men's 3-team tournament will take place in Osaka, highlighting the great developments that continue to be made footywise in the Kansai region, and in Japan as a whole.
The votes are in from World Footy News' second online poll, asking what method of recruiting has been most successful for clubs - and the two top responses were the internet and old-fashioned word-of-mouth.
In March, the Sydney Women's AFL played the local New South Wales (Australia) Women's GAA in an International Rules match. It is hoped that this will see the start of cooperation and expansion for the women's version of the two codes in NSW, perhaps even leading to a women's IR series between Australia and Ireland.
The Denver Bulldogs have again taken out the top division of the USAFL Nationals, the most prestigious event in US Australian Rules football. Other winners were Arizona and a combined Cincinnati/Pittsburgh side.
Each year the AFL holds draft camps around Australia, with talented young footballers tested to aid AFL clubs in making their draft choices. A tall young Englishman is creating some interest, setting a new sprint record.
The results are in for the first day of the 2004 US Nationals, being held in Atlanta, Georgia. Reigning back-to-back champions Denver are again dominating Division 1, but there have been a few surprise results across the grades.
In possibly one of the most dramatic developments in the history of Australian Rules football, the United States AFL has reportedly signed a three year contract with the new All Sports Television Network. If this deal reaches its potential, the major US leagues could be fast-tracked to the first semi-professional Aussie Rules leagues outside of Australia.
There is no doubt that both Gaelic football and Aussie Rules are growing in North America. Gaelic football has been established much longer in America, and with Australian footy growing fast, opportunities exist for the sports to work together. The New York football scene is a great example of what might be achieved.
The DAFL held the annual post-season Sheepstation Cup and its end of season awards ceremonies on the weekend of September 25th and 26th, with North Copenhagen's Mogens Hansen taking the Sitch Medal for the Best and Fairest player in the DAFL and Britain's Reading Roos defeating the DAFL Wannabees 38-33 in the Cup Final.