A "first step" for WFDF.
April 13, 2016 by Charlie Eisenhood in News with 13 comments
This morning, WFDF announced a deal with CBS Sports Network to air tape-delayed, same-day coverage of the WUGC Mixed final this summer. Ultiworld caught up with WFDF President Robert “Nob” Rauch to find out a bit more about the deal.
Regarding the broadcast itself, WFDF expects to show the two-hour package featuring the Mixed final plus highlights from the Men’s and Women’s finals in two time slots: first from 4-6 PM Eastern time on Saturday, June 25th, then a replay from 9-11 PM Pacific time.
The deal with CBSSN is for the full North American broadcast rights to the Mixed final, which means that the livestream will not be available to anyone in North America. Fans will have to make sure to get in front of a TV with CBS Sports Network in order to watch the game later in the day.
While financial details were not forthcoming, Rauch did say that the deal was a partial time buy, which means that WFDF is paying for the airtime on CBSSN. It is also a partial barter deal — WFDF and CBSSN will split the available advertising space.
Rauch reiterated the organization’s goals with the CBSSN deal: reach new fans, earn more credibility with the international sports community and potential sponsors, and get fans excited about watching ultimate on broadcast TV. “For our first venture, it’s a pretty solid start,” he said.
He sees the move as vital to start showing ultimate as a commercialized sport, something the IOC has explicitly told WFDF will be an important step towards any potential Olympics inclusion.
In response to a question about whether this deal will actually lead to a measurable increase in fans or viewership, Rauch said, “You’ve got to start somewhere. It’s very hard to know up front what the benefit is. I think if we have aspirations to be seen with credibility by the IOC, we have to be seen as a sport that is packageable and good on TV…It’s an area where we haven’t done much in the past and we need to take this step.”
USA Ultimate has had tape delayed versions of the College Championships finals shown on broadcast TV since the late 2000s, when they had a deal with CBS Sports Network. In 2013, USAU signed a deal with ESPN to air games live on ESPN3, the network’s online channel, and tape-delayed on ESPNU, the college-focused broadcast channel. This will be WFDF’s first time with a television broadcast deal for an international event.