Multilingual AFL calls began as an experiment of the National Ethnic & Multicultural Broadcasters Council and have now grown into a regular part of the games coverage.
Games are now broadcast in 8 languages throughout the season by groups of ethnic broadcasters, doing their live calls from the MCG in Arabic, Dinka, Hindi, Greek, Italian, Mandarin, Spanish, and English.
“The Multicultural AFL Weekly Football TV & Radio Show is a production of the NEMBC and is the most diverse football show in Australia. We have been able to tap into the ethnic community broadcasters and with production support of the AFL turn them into sports reporters for radio and TV… the background to these people and their love for the game is unique and diverse,” says NEMBC CEO Russell Anderson.
The programs are distributed nationally across TV broadcasts and 60 community radio stations, as well as AFL news podcasts and community Television audiences in Victoria and South Australia, and NOW nationally on Foxtel – Aurora. All programs are available on social media and Soundcloud.
This is the first time that ethnic community broadcasting has reached such a large audience across multiple platforms.
The success of the initiative was covered last week on ABC Radio, with Hindi commentator Harbir Singh Kang telling Amanda Smith: “I came in 2003 and immediately I was told I have to go for a team.”
Spanish commentator Vanessa Gatica said: “I came from Mexico and spent all of 2016 watching AFL football because my husband is Australian… then I started to work in radio and then came this great opportunity.”
Families watch the match on tv and turn on the language commentary. Even if some members of the family don’t understand English, they can follow the game with the ethnic commentary.
Fiv Antoniou, the NEMBC football programs producer says the AFL has supported the NEMBC to push the language commentary into the main stream.
The full ABC interview is available here.