The IFSC, the governing body of international competive climbing has signed a 3-year deal with US-based streaming company Flosports to bring IFSC Climbing World Cup events to its Floclimbing platform.
FloClimbing, which is a subscription-based online service, will offer all of IFSC’s events in 2017-2019, starting with this weekend’s IFSC Bouldering World Cup event, which takes place in Meiringen, Switzerland, plus original documentaries on the sport’s iconic athletes, as well as technique breakdowns, breaking news, highlights, interviews and more.
Historically all World Cup events could be streamed live for free and archived on YouTube to be watched for free. Now the only way to watch World Cup events is with an annual subscription to Flosports which will cost $150 paid annual or $20 month.
In a press release, the IFSC stated, “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”
Not everyone is happy with the new paid format. There is now a Change.org petition asking the IFSC to cancel the subsription fees, that is quickly gaining signatures. The Austrian climbing team, a major player in international competitions, posted on their official Facebook page a plea for people to write into the IFSC and tell them comps should be free to watch. Even professional athletes are getting in on the backlash.
Friday, April 7th 2017:
The Meiringen World Cup started this April 6th with a protest from the athelets. During the opening ceromonies, each climber held up a large red card in protest of the decision to end of free live streaming of IFSC events.
What can seem like a lifetime on the internet, the IFSC and Floclimbing remained silent all day Thrusday about the massive backlash to the paid subscription. This morning Martin Floreani, Co-founder and CEO of Flosports, the parent company of Floclimbing, released a response:
“Since the IFSC announced our partnership to live stream their World Cup events on FloClimbing.com, we’ve seen concern from members of the climbing community about paying to watch the live coverage.
We hear you, and we’re offering a 7-day free trial for FloPRO subscribers on FloClimbing.com starting later today and lasting for the rest of this month. In addition, the archives for our April events will be available on-demand, without a subscription, three days after each event.
To be clear, our mission is to grow the events, the athletes, the fans, and the sports that we cover. To achieve this, we’ve hired more than 240 full-time employees, thousands of freelance writers, producers and artists, and invested millions of dollars into our partnerships with event rights holders like the IFSC.
Simply put, we exist to build communities and economies around sports worldwide. We set out to cover sports as no one has before, by bringing fans more live events, as well as interviews, documentaries, technique and training videos, all produced by athletes and experts in each relevant sport. This is what the partnership between IFSC and FloSports will bring to climbing.
We believe 24-hour coverage of sports should not be limited to soccer, football, basketball, hockey, etc. These sports were not ordained to be the most popular sports in the world. They were made that way by comprehensive live and on-demand coverage and original content.
With your support, we will do the same with climbing as we’ve done with many other sports, such as wrestling, track, softball, jiu-jitsu and more.”