ESPN3 is a Great Way to Watch the AFL
Ten years ago, in 2004, I wrote an article on ArenaFan called "How I Spent My Friday Night." It told how I tried to follow an Arena Football game between the Grand Rapids Rampage and the Indiana Firebirds one night on the Internet. My dial-up modem did not make for an easy time of it.
I was reduced to following the entire game on a live game stats page on arenafootball.com. There was a graphic on the screen of a playing field and a football that showed what yard line the ball was on. The screen refreshed about every 30 seconds or so. Text would soon appear on the screen saying who had just run the ball on the previous play or who caught the pass and how many yards were gained on the play. It was an archaic and frustrating way to follow a live game. But that was the level of technology available at the time.
Four years later in 2008, I wrote another article called, "How I Spent My Monday Night." Again, I was trying to follow the Rampage during a road game, this time against the Kansas City Brigade. By then, I had a high-speed connection at home and was able to stream the game live on my computer for free using something called AFL Net.
This season, I have been watching live AFL games on ESPN3. The Arena Football League has TV contracts with CBS Sports Network as well as on ESPN. If the game you want to watch isn’t on one of those two networks, you can still watch all AFL games on ESPN3 on the internet.
Since Grand Rapids does not have an AFL team anymore (something I feel the league needs to rectify ASAP) I have been following the Cleveland Gladiators the past few years. Head coach Steve Thonn and assistant coach Ron Selesky coached in Grand Rapids that 2008 season, and this season they have led the Gladiators to a 4-0 start.
I watched the Gladiators game against the Los Angeles KISS last weekend on ESPN3. I used an HDMI cable to connect my laptop to the flat screen TV and enjoyed the game on the big screen. It was just as good as if it were being broadcast on any of my other 300 satellite channels.
The week before, I was watching one AFL game on TV and another game (Cleveland) on my laptop at the same time! I was in Arena Football heaven.
I also recently purchased a Blue Ray/DVD player that is connected to the internet, but I have not figured out how to watch AFL games on it as of yet.
What a difference 10 years makes! The technology available today is incredible and AFL fans have no excuse for not following their team of choice every week throughout the entire season.