MELBOURNE, Australia – On Thursday, the AIHL announced that a decision had been made not to stream the AIHL Finals. This was a position recommended by the AIHL and voted on by the majority of AIHL teams.
The AIHL released the following statement on its web site regarding the broadcast online.
The recommendation was made with an honest assessment that protecting the AIHL’s current national broadcasting rights was critical to the continued long-term growth of the league, the teams and the fans. The league’s main source of revenue stems from sponsorship associated with television broadcasting.
The AIHL’s statement continued, “We did not expect the effect a decision not to live stream would have on our fans. The overwhelming feedback from our fans and the broader ice hockey community is that they are extremely disappointed with this decision. The AIHL and its teams have reflected on feedback that the ability to watch the Finals live is important to all our fans across the country and internationally. We have also received feedback from our fans that if the AIHL were to stream the Finals live, the fans would support the subsequent FOX SPORTS broadcasts and watch the replays- reliving the excitement all over again.
“This evening the AIHL and the respective teams convened a special meeting to revisit the decision not to live stream. Arising from this meeting, the AIHL and the teams have reversed the decision and determined to broadcast the finals in real time via Live Stream. The AIHL will rework its strategy to protect its national broadcasting rights next year.”
The decision appears to be a reaction to the growing interest in the league and its level of play. Despite two teams at the bottom of the table with a collective of nine wins this season, the quality of matches has been excellent and the competition fierce.
“We recognise that our loyal fans keep our league growing. We will continue to listen to your constructive feedback and we will continue to work hard to successfully grow the league,” the AIHL statement added.
“Importantly, we ask our loyal fans to support the FOX SPORTS broadcast of the AIHL Finals. Without this support we may not successfully renew our broadcasting capabilities.”
What the Live Stream does do is provide international viewers and fans of the AIHL to watch the Finals. Pro Hockey News encourages the Australian viewers to remain loyal to FOX Sports but we also thank the AIHL for providing this added opportunity for the fans in North America and the world.