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