I’ll be blunt.
Now that there is no confusion about where we stand, let’s start the discussion.
Over the past five years, edited YouTube coverage has helped open the door towards disc golf becoming a spectator sport. It has built an awesome following and the editing and coverage has gotten better and better. It has also filmed many of the shots that have ended up on ESPN, teasing the masses about our sport.
Edited YouTube coverage of disc golf tournaments is turned around insanely fast, (currently) offers very little pay to the people that do it, and is appreciated by hundreds of thousands of fans nearly every week of the year. So, while we truly believe the long term future of disc golf coverage will be live, current and short term coverage is most enjoyed through edited footage and edited coverage has a place in our sport for years to come.
Perhaps a good place to start is to discuss why live coverage is preferable from the Pro Tour’s perspective.
We often talk about spectators becoming emotionally vested. Let’s take a minute to clarify what we mean. The more we watch disc golf, the more we will pick up on mannerisms of each player.
We know that Ricky is very excitable and wears his emotions on his sleeve. We know that Paul is reserved and when he gets down he will step aside, buckle down and thrill us with an amazing shot to stop the bleeding. We are starting to learn that Cam Todd has ice in his veins. We know that the smile of Nate Doss’ face is not going anywhere anytime soon, no matter what is going on.
We see these things, we pick up on them, and we start to know them as people as opposed to players. When that happens, disc golf shifts to being both a great sport to play and a great sport to watch.
Regarding advertisers, long term this will be a big part of the life blood of the Pro Tour. If spectators are watching live they are much more valuable to advertisers. In person, spectators can interact with partners directly. On a live broadcast, they are much more likely to watch the commercials. Bearing in mind the value to our partners and the strengthened emotional bond, live coverage is the long term path we need to take.
This brings us to edited YouTube coverage and its place in the Pro Tour currently, short term and long term.
None of this matters if live coverage does not improve. This presents the real challenge and improving our coverage has been one of our primary goals leading up to the Vibram Open, our inaugural event. We are doing this in three ways and would like your help to do even more.
By now you have probably started to see some of the info we are releasing about the improved scoring and instant statistics. This will be one of the biggest steps forward in our coverage. Kudos to the UDisc guys for their amazing efforts leading up to the Pro Tour season.
Lastly, we have a team of video editors that are creating set pieces (one to three minute videos) on a wide range of topics featuring a wide range of players. The goal is to, no matter the situation, be able to pull up a relevant piece and minimize our time watching a jiggly camera walk down the fairway.
We know that live coverage is the long term direction. We have made significant efforts towards improving the coverage. There is still one critical piece and we are simply not there yet.
We want live coverage of multiple cards.
The problem is this: we did not budget to do this in 2016. Unfortunately, I just published the article about sustainability, so we can’t just spend everything we have in reserve and hope things work out. Our current plan is to improve live coverage as much as we can and make sure to budget to at least two, and hopefully three, card coverage so we can minimize downtime and create compelling coverage. Small steps forward this year, more to come next year.
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