The Hamilton Wildcats, one the clubs in Canada's biggest footy league, the Ontario AFL, recently had a good write up about them in their local press, The Hamilton Spectator. Wildcats President Charles Thompson is hopeful the coverage will help them recruit a few new players and maybe even supporters. The reporter does a good job of describing the level of awareness of the sport in North America, with its rise in profile through marketng and the notorious Jacko adverts of the 1980s.
As we reported in US Nationals and AFL TV broadcast updates, there have been major changes to AFL TV coverage in North America in 2006. It is good to see that Setanta Sports are making at least early efforts to promote the game, with a dedicated page on their website (you may have to select North America or look for the Aussie Rules logo). Note that the page shows the AFL fixtures, not the telecast schedule.
When 2005 AFL Premiers the Sydney Swans travelled to Los Angeles to play an exhibition match against the North Melbourne Kangaroos, their promotion of the great Aussie game went further than just the United States. An offer was made to bring two Canadian players down to LA to train with Sydney and a young player from each of Toronto and Vancouver were more than happy to accept the opportunity. This continues a growing tradition of the New South Wales side assisting international football, following on from their willingness to recruit and develop Irishman Tadhg Kennelly and the genuine support given to Canada for the 2005 International Cup. WFN spoke to AFL Canada President Mike McFarlane about what realistic pathways the two young guns could follow.
Returning after a period of mourning in 2005 with a couple of low key games and combining with Kansas city at the 2005 Nationals, Louisville Football Club make their second big step back into footy in 2006. Their season kicking off this weekend hosting the Founder’s Thunder Cup 2006 Tournament in memory of club founder John Harrell.
WFN updates a couple of recent US stories on the 2006 USAFL Nationals and the 2006 US television coverage of the AFL season - including confirmation of Las Vegas as location for this year's national club championships and two broadcasters (Setanta broadcasting live, MHz carrying match of the week) bringing footy to US television.
The Caribbean nation that is the Cayman Islands has it all, sun, surf, sand and….footy. Though not quite a staple of sporting life on the island it is a regular feature on the calendar each year for the past few years. The Gaelic Football Club started there in 1990 and as it progressed with a number of expatriate Australians playing the game there, they brought two regular Aussie Rules games each year into their schedule on St Patrick’s Day and Anzac Day.
2005 saw clubs such as Bakersfield and Las Vegas make their debut on the US footy scene. A number of others around the country are in the embryonic stage, with the major determinant to their likely success being raw numbers of players. Once they have enough numbers it is hoped that the existing clubs can do their best to foster their new comrades and welcome them into the fold. World Footy News profiles some of these efforts here.
In a major announcement for footy viewers in the US today, independent public broadcaster MHz NETWORKS has announced it will broadcast the Australian Football League (AFL) "Match of the Week," and an hour-long highlights show, on its new national program service MHz WORLDVIEW for the full AFL season. Matches will air on Saturday nights at 8PM EST with replay Sundays at noon EST.
Western Australian Football League club the West Perth Falcons have sought out the Milwaukee Bombers to form a partnership that will allow them to promote themselves at an international level in the US. Importantly, the deal will see scholarship positions created allowing two Milwaukee players to undertake pre-season training with the club (who play in the professional state league feeding into the West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers) and then stay on to play local football for the season.
The Chicago Australian Football Association are this Saturday March 18th to be filmed in action by Australian television’s Channel 7, with the Illinois club chosen to show their wares for upcoming segments to be shown on the network in Australia on three separate occasions. As well as footage of the players in action, club players and officials are expected to feature in a number of interviews.