How and when to watch AFL online in Australia

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Kicking back with a brew and watching some AFL on your TV should be a no-fuss affair. Unfortunately, with all of the matches being sometimes shown on either free-to-air or pay television, or occasionally both, getting your fix is about as pain-free as playing AFL against somebody who thinks the studs-up rule is more of a loose guideline.

The 2020 season will kick off at the MCG on Thursday, March 19 with a face-off opener between defending premiers the Carlton Blues and Richmond. In the fullness of time, those all-important finals games will come our way during the first weekend of September. The first fixture will most likely end up being on September 3. Thankfully, it’ll be a free-to-air free-for-all on coverage — all finals games will be shown live on both the Seven Network, and on Foxtel.

After that, the great decider will be upon us. As always, the grand final will be beamed to fans on the final Saturday of September (the 26th in 2020) in the usual afternoon time-slot. The winner will be showered with praise, the loser will be taunted and booed until our throat is sore. More importantly, you should know that the Seven Network has the market cornered on this particular match – exclusive rights means they’re (literally) the only game in town.

Home and away games in 2020

Here’s where broadcasting deals make things complicated. The current AFL agreement has basically split everything, rather unevenly, between free-to-air (Channel Seven) and pay TV (Fox Sports). Fox gets to beam almost every single game to you via Fox Sports 503 or Fox Footy 504. Meanwhile, Channel Seven will live-deliver five matches per week for those of us who doggedly stick to the freebie route.

Below is a basic idea of what games are coming to which channel and when.

Looking for more to stream? Here’s what on offer in Australia