IFSC Live Streaming No Longer Free?

The IFSC has recently announced that they have signed a 3-year contract with “FloSPorts”, a live streaming company based out of the U.S. Viewing any IFSC events for the next few years will only be possible through a subscription to FloSports which will cost you 20$ a month or 150$ a year. In the past, IFSC events have been free and live-streamed via youtube. So, if you enjoy watching professional climbing from the comfort of your couch like myself, it will now come at hefty price. More costly than Netflix, might I add.

The official press release (found here) has this to say about the deal:

“This partnership with FloSports will allow the IFSC to invest more resources than ever before into Sport Climbing. This will result in a more viable economic environment for the events, host countries and athletes. This new deal will also allow the IFSC to create more content, high quality production and more in depth coverage than ever before. This will allow the IFSC to reach a broader audience.” – IFSC Press Release

On one hand, most professional sports are viewed on TV (cable) or pay-per-view which all involve some sort of fee. With the growth of climbing in recent years and with its inclusion in the Olympics, it makes sense that they want to improve overall viewing quality. Quality comes with a price. I didn’t see a problem with the way IFSC broadcasted their events in the past, but I also don’t know how much of a financial burden that was on the IFSC either.

On the other hand, I really don’t think many people will pay for this. I mean, a jump from 0$ to 20$ is unreasonable. I’d be willing to pay a few bucks to watch an event, but to pay 20$ to watch something from my house on my lap top seems silly. Many people will probably end up splitting the cost with others and viewing in groups. Again, this involves planning and isn’t as easy as just going to youtube to watch when you please. Beginner climbers are less likely to purchase a subscription because it’s a big price to pay for something that you may or may not enjoy. At least when it’s free, you’re more inclined to give it a go (and ultimately fall in love). I can’t tell if I’m against this because it’s change and no one likes change, or if it is in fact a dumb idea. Either way, I’m not a fan.

What do you think?

Climb on xx

10 thoughts on “IFSC Live Streaming No Longer Free?

  1. I think you hit the nail on the head. People are certainly willing to pay, but $20/month is a little wacky. You can get Netflix for $9.99/month, which is half the price for 20x the material. I suspect (or hope) that they’ll hear the cries of outrage and drop the price.

    1. Sounds like a lot of elite athletes are against it as well. With a contract locked in, and many angry climbers, I’m curious to see what they will do!!

  2. Hm. I agree. The jump to $20 seems unreasonable. I think it makes the most sense for professional climbers who may want to watch the competition. However, I can’t see groups of climbers going in on the monthly membership to watch climbing, when we could be doing the actual thing instead. It’s unfortunate that the IFSC found a way to make more money and use the Olympics as it’s starting point. One of the greatest things about climbing is that it’s accessible for almost anybody, and once you have the gear it’s free to climb outside. Charging people to watch climbing online seems out of line.

    1. I absolutely agree. I think this is what everyone feared when climbing won the Olympic bid. I really can’t see too many people buying this in the end, which might make FloClimbing change or drop their contract entirely. But for now, it does suck that climbing is not as accessible as it once was. 🙁

  3. I’m all for improving production quality (man those distance camera angles can be annoying!!) and might be willing to spend a little to encourage that, but at $20 a month that’s a little crazy. It would make a lot more sense to do it pay-per-view style, especially since there are only a handful of comps a month…at best. Plus that way people could pick and choose if they only like watching particular disciplines and/or split costs to watch specifics comps in groups instead of going through the headache of sharing a monthly membership.

    1. Definitely. I have no desire to suddenly watch large quantities of tennis or wrestling. You should be able to select which sport you would like to view, which would inevitable make it more affordable. They might even do that in the end, who knows! It’ll be interesting to see what they do.

  4. Thanks for your comment 🙂

    On the IFSC’s decision:
    This seems incredibly stupid. Especially because they signed a 3 year contract and didn’t even test it out for a season. Signing this deal in secrecy and just 2 days before the first event makes it even more questionable. I just hope this decision is still somehow reversible.

    1. Agreed, I hadn’t even thought about how stupid it was to go right into a contract without testing the waters first! At least now they’re seeing how opposed people are to this and thinking of a solution… but, a contract is still a contract. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out for sure! Thanks for commenting 🙂

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