It's a subject we return to time and again here at Lifehacker: given how popular sport is, why won't the networks make any effort to show high-definition broadcasts? Ten is the latest offender, dropping HD versions of its AFL broadcasts in favour of standard-definition matches on its main channels.
TV Tonight points out the switch, which sees HD broadcasts on ONE dumped in favour of showing other sports, probably reflects the fact that Ten is dropping AFL after this year, and hence has no particular interest in supporting the franchise. The network also points out that this gives viewers more choice. However, with the current allocation of just one HD channel to each network, that choice often won't be HD; Seven, for instance, is ensuring live broadcasts of Wimbledon by simulcasting on 7Two, but hasn't taken up the option of using 7Mate.
The whole HD issue isn't likely to disappear until 2013, when digital switchover is complete and networks can start doing HD broadcasting on their main channels. In the meantime, Foxtel's subscription department is presumably rubbing its hands together with glee.
TEN abandons AFL in HD [TV Tonight]