The IFSC has announced the signing of a 3-year deal with US-based sports livestreaming company Flosports to host IFSC World Cup climbing events on its platform. From now on, spectators are required to pay a subscription fee of up to £120 per year or £16 per month to watch the IFSC series of livestreams. The service will be in place from this weekend's IFSC Boulder World Cup event in Meiringen, Switzerland.
In a press release from the IFSC, the partnership is said to 'allow the IFSC to invest more resources than ever before into Sport Climbing,' resulting in 'a more viable economic environment for the events, host countries and athletes.' The IFSC also claim that the deal will enable the creation of more content of a higher production quality with in depth coverage, all of which - they claim - will mean reaching 'a broader audience.'
The decision to sell the livestreaming of events and the consequent subscription fees has met with an overwhelmingly negative response from unconsulted competitors and IFSC event fans on social media, just days before the IFSC competition season kicks off. A petition has been launched by Innsbruck-based media producer, livestreamer and former international competitor Peter Crane, which has so far attracted over 3,800 signatures and has been shared by competition teams, including Austria Climbing. Many complainants are expressing concern for the accessibility of the new livestream service, which could prevent spectators from watching the events due to financial reasons.
IFSC President, Marco Scolaris commented in the press release: 'With our partner FloSports we are beginning a new adventure. We’ll offer climbing fans a deeper level of event and climbing coverage. FloSports’ interest in climbing will also allow the IFSC to invest more in high quality production at IFSC events to bring the beauty and excitement of sport climbing to its fans.'
Described as an 'innovator in live digital sports' which partners with event right holders and governing bodies to produce livestreaming, video programming and weekly studio shows, Flosports is already involved in media production for multiple sports including wrestling, grappling, MMA, elite fitness, softball, tennis, pro wrestling and gymnastics amongst other activities.
The IFSC is yet to comment on the response of athletes and spectators on social media. More information to follow...