Tournament Talk: The DDO Was A Great Return, I Think

Timing is everything, and after months away disc golf doesn't quite feel "back"

Paul McBeth at the 2020 Dynamic Discs Open. Photo: DGPT

I understand that Paul McBeth won the Dynamic Discs Open by performing well on the course. That’s how you win tournaments. I can look at the UDisc Live stats and see he drove the disc well. I also know Calvin Heimburg put the pressure on during the final round.

However, I can’t tell you much more than this, because I, like many of you, will have to wait until August to see what went down in Emporia this weekend on the Open side.

Last Thursday, less than 24 hours before the first group teed off, the DGPT and Dynamic Discs announced that there would be no next day post-produced Open coverage of the first COVID-era Elite Series event. Rather than watching Jomez or CCDG on YouTube, coverage will be available on the CBS Sports Network, tentatively in August. And live coverage, available on the Disc Golf Network all tournament, and YouTube for the final round, also wouldn’t be available to rewatch after the weekend.

For many, this news and announcement will be cause for celebration. A BIG NETWORK is rolling the dice on disc golf and putting the sport on a much bigger stage than ever before, and Jomez will be leading the production. Every internet-disc-golf-person is finally getting their wish; a cable network is broadcasting disc golf with people who know the sport running the production. 

In the big picture, this should feel like a victory. So why doesn’t it?

Steve Hill, PDGA Communications Manager, gave a generally positive, if not effusive response to the news:

“Without knowing too much about the details in terms of what the final product will look like, I think it’s a net positive. By all accounts new players are flooding into the sport, and trying to put the pro divisions on display as a result makes sense. I know some people have been upset about no next-day and the timing of the announcement (the second one is a valid concern), but my hope is more people will explore the live for this one or be even more ready for the Preserve Championship.”

Timing is everything, and in his observation about the timing of this announcement, Steve has hit on something.

Can you imagine if Steve Dodge, to use his phrase, took away the cookie of next-day coverage in the middle of a pandemic, after three months of no disc golf, with less than 24 hours before the first group teed off, and then told us that in addition to paying for the DGN live coverage, we would have to pay for a whole separate service in order to watch the event sometime around a month and half from the event?

Many people are upset, and rightly so. The DGPT and DGN had built up some good will and positive P.R. with the steps they took to improve the viewing experience, transparency in their decision making, and honesty with the players and fans. The decision to move the broadcast to CBSSN, on its face, is a good idea and they should be applauded for making such a move. But the manner in which the announcement was made still leaves a lot to be desired. Even for a tournament that didn’t exist a couple of weeks ago. All of a sudden, the $8.99 a month for DGN doesn’t get you what it said it would.

In the time of COVID, folks are understanding that things change. What is certain one moment may or may not be so cut and dry the next. Events may be canceled, they may go on. Movies might premier, they might not. Your favorite bar might open for outdoor seating, it might not. People get that, and are willing to cut some slack, but only some.

The way the DGPT handled this announcement may have used up all the slack they are going to get.

  1. Christopher Wiklund
    Christopher Wiklund

    Chris is a contributor at Ultiworld Disc Golf. He lives and works on Cape Cod in Massachusetts where he plays as much disc golf as he can, and reminds people he lives on Cape Cod. He likes spending time outside when he isn't playing video games and watching TV.

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