The US television deal for the broadcast of local USAFL matches has created much excitement but also scepticism. The USAFL have issued a statement that they accept there may be teething problems with the ASTN deal in its first year, but they remain confident that it will be a great step forward for the game in America. The release follows.
On April 8th and 9th, the AFL's Collingwood Magpies
held open tryouts in association with the Denver Bulldogs, the reigning
3-in-a-row USAFL champions. James Waddell, officially representing
Collingwood, put a group of hopefuls through a series of athletic tests,
with the results forwarded to the club for examination. Waddell would
like this to be just the first of many trials, with the aim of finding
young American recruits to take to Australia on scholarships, with a
view to AFL careers.
The Florida Redbacks are looking forward to the beginnings of a bright season, hosting the Baltimore-Washington Eagles this weekend in the first match of the Eastern AFL season and announcing the formation of a third Florida metro league side in the southern city of Fort Lauderdale.
The All-Sports Television Network, a US company with broadcast affiliates, has been the source of some debate in US football circles. The promise of American Aussie Rules matches being telecast is exciting, but with the anticipation comes the fear of disappointment. A positive recent development has been the upgrade to ASTN's website, with Australian Rules Football now listed as one of their sports.
Aussie Rules continues its steady growth in the United States. The heavily populated state of Florida has budding players spread across it, including Tampa, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Apollo Beach, Orlando, Ocala
and Naples. After a formative year in the SEAFL, the players will again come together as the Florida Redbacks to play in the inaugural Eastern AFL season.
The Golden Gate AFL, based around San Fransisco / Santa Cruz, and the AFL Queensland, have entered into a sister-league relationship, much like sister-club alliances have been formed before. AFLQ continue to be a trendsetter in promoting Australian Rules football around the world. They already do a lot of work with AFL PNG and have assisted in other areas too. The reason could just be local contacts. Another explanation for their enthusiasm might be the appreciation they have for developing the game in a region where it isn't the dominant sport. It would be great to hear if other Australian leagues have similar arrangements. The following information is direct from the GGAFL site.
The long awaited FOXFooty documentary about the 2004 US Nationals in Atlanta is due to go to air in Australia on Wednesday night, the 30th March. Tiffany Cherry interviewed players and officials, and parts of games were taped. For those that have the FOXFooty channel, the 30 minute program air times are listed below.
As happens every few years, as the best formula for footy in the United States is sought, some of the major leagues have undergone a significant restructure for 2005, with the emergence of the Eastern AFL.
Chicago has long been one of the stronger bases for Australian Rules Football in the USA. At times the growth of numbers there has been very encouraging, but as with many sports, politics can get in the road. A split emerged and a common way forward was not established. But in the past year there has been a convergence of ideas.