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Even in the darkness, football-like product survives.

AFL Coronavirus Response Press Conference Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

These be dark times, my friends. College football stands at the precipice of delay or outright cancellation of the 2020 season. But while the NFL and other pro sports get the headlines, your favorite Oblong Spheroid sports have faced their own peril in the age of pandemic, some faring better than others.

Arena Football: Partially Dead, and not due to pandemic. After a bad 2019 season, the AFL filed for bankruptcy this past November and I can find no evidence that the league will be restarted.

Meanwhile, the splinter group Indoor Football League that many of the midwest and western AFL teams defected to over the years appears to be stable and was even planning expansion to 14 teams before the pandemic struck. Their 2020 season is canceled, their championship game was scheduled for July 25th.

Canadian Football: Because of the timing, the CFL didn’t even get to have preseason before lockdowns began to hit Canada. As of the latest statements, the CFL is planning to start their season in September at the earliest, with a very truncated season and playoffs. There are 2 domes in the CFL (BC and Toronto), so the CFL can avoid many issues with their season going long into the winter.

Women’s Football Alliance: The WFA had to suspend and eventually cancel their season before it started back in March, but there’s still good news for the women’s game. They picked up a TV deal with Eleven Sports in January and recently had a 30 for 30 documentary premier on ESPN earlier this month.

Aussie Rules: The AFL was at one point the last active team sport on the planet before the pandemic reached Australian shores. However, thanks to strong measures for containment, the AFL also became one of the first team sports in the world to return back on June 11th. Teams currently play in quarantine and are moved around in group bubbles to avoid flare ups in certain parts of their country, but otherwise their season is back on track. In some areas, pandemic containment has gone well enough that they are planning for games with crowds of 30,000 as early as next week. Also, thanks to every other sport on earth getting canceled, Aussie Rules US TV presence has expanded exponentially, with Fox moving the games from premium cable down to FS1 and FS2 and ESPN picking up an additional 2 games a week. A majority of each week’s slate of games now air live on US TV and I couldn’t be happier.

NRL: Thanks to the containment procedures by the New Zealand government, the NRL, which has teams across Australia and New Zealand, was able to return to play even earlier in late May and have also been slowly allowing fans back into stadiums.

Here’s your list for the weekend. If you know of a league I missed, let me know and we’ll ad them next week.


League Start Matchup Channel/Stream
League Start Matchup Channel/Stream
All Times Central THURSDAY
Aussie Rules 4:30 AM Geelong vs Brisbane ESPN3
Super Rugby 4:00 AM Rebels v Reds ESPN+
Aussie Rules 4:30 AM Collingwood v Hawthorne FS1
Aussie Rules 9:30 PM Fremantle v St Kilda FS2
Aussie Rules 12:00 AM West Coast v Adelaide FS2
Super Rugby 2:00 AM Crusaders v Blues ESPN2
Aussie Rules 3:00 AM Melbourne v Gold Coast WatchAFL
Super Rugby 4:10 AM Waratahs v Force ESPN+
Aussie Rules 4:30 AM Essendon v North Melbourne WatchAFL
NRL Rugby 4:30 AM Canberra v Melbourne FS1
Aussie Rules 10:00 PM Port Adelaide v Greater Western Sydney FS2
Super Rugby 10:30 PM Hurricanes v Highlanders ESPN2
Aussie Rules 12:30 AM Richmond v Sydney ESPN2
NRL Rugby 1:00 AM Newcastle v Parramatta FS2
Aussie Rules 3:30 AM Carlton v Western FS1