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Oklahoma State-Iowa dual needed to be on TV

Iowa's Pat Lugo and Oklahoma State's Kaden Gfeller battle at 149 pounds on Sunday (Photo/Oklahoma State Athletics)

I woke up Sunday morning like a lot of wrestling fans. I was looking forward to the marquee matchup between college wrestling powerhouses.

But then reality set in.

It wasn't going to be on TV.

And I voiced my opinion on Twitter with this post:


What is going on here? Why can't we get a huge match like this on TV?

As most wrestling fans know, there is a decent amount of college wrestling that is televised.

Even ESPN, to their credit, jumped in this season and did some dual meets. ESPN has done an excellent job covering the NCAA Championships each March.

The answer to my Twitter question was that the match was being shown on a live webcast.

There are hundreds of college basketball games on television with a majority of them featuring teams not ranked, but we can't get an important dual meet between the two most storied programs in NCAA history on television.

The Big Ten Network and other networks do a decent job of putting college wrestling on the air.

Big Ten Network televised 15 dual meets this season and will show the finals of the Big Ten Championships in early March.

But we can't get the Oklahoma State-Iowa dual on television?

I messaged a long-time wrestling journalist Sunday and asked him why this dual wasn't on TV.

His answer? Money talks. And Oklahoma State made money from the people who produced the webcast.

The money put up for the webcast is what kept it off television.

I'm all for wrestling websites and other entities trying to make money and promote their product.

But not having a dual meet like this on television hurts the sport. In a big way.

Fans have to pay to watch a live stream.

How does this grow the sport?

It limits your viewers to a niche wrestling audience and a lot of interested wrestling fans simply aren't going to pay to watch a webcast.

It was a missed opportunity for more exposure on television. And a missed opportunity to attract new viewers and grow the sport.

They had a huge crowd for the dual meet at Oklahoma State, which was great to see. Obviously, there was a high level of interest in this dual meet.

It is just too bad more people weren't able to watch it.

It's like Iowa coach Tom Brands had said in the days leading up to the dual meet. Brands said the meet should be on ESPN and be showcased in a place where everyone could see it.

When the dual is on ESPN, people in every sports bar in America can see it and fans at home have easy access to it. That draws interest and legitimizes your sport. And more than likely draws in some new viewers to the sport. Especially if the product is good and they are entertained.

If there is wrestling being shown on TV, which there is, at least put the best matches on so we can watch them.

No offense, but I'm guessing most of us would rather watch Iowa at Oklahoma State than Indiana at Michigan State. One of those duals was on TV this season. Just not the one that should've been.

The best meets should have the best coverage with the best announcers. And we shouldn't have to pay for a subscription on a website to watch it.

You don't have to pay for a webcast to watch college basketball games involving major conference schools at the NCAA Division I level. They're all on TV. Even the ones involving two teams with losing records.

But when the two winningest programs meet on the wrestling mat, you can't find the match anywhere on television.

And that's sad to see.

When a friend messaged me Sunday to say that Iowa's Spencer Lee suffered an upset loss in the dual's first match at 125 pounds, that was the first I had heard of it.

I could've shelled out the money for a subscription to watch the webcast.

But I shouldn't have had to.

It should have been on television.

Wrestling needs to do better.

It's better than a webcast sport. It deserves to be on national television where everyone can watch it.

I've said it for years. You limit your audience by making people pay to watch your sport. And you certainly don't grow or expand it.

When Oklahoma State and Iowa wrestle, we shouldn't have to ask if the match is going to be televised.

It should be automatic that it will be shown somewhere on television.

These two great wrestling programs deserve better coverage than they're getting.

And the fans certainly deserve better.

Comments

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smead429 (3) about 10 months ago
You don't "have to" pay for cable either, but you do because you want the content it provides.
If ESPN wanted it, they could have paid for it, this sport is not a priority for them (until the NCAA's). The majority of the meets ESPN carries are on ESPN + which requires an additional subscription.
I'm happy I have the opportunity to pay to watch the sport I love when nobody else will cover it. That was not a possibility when I was competing. Fans today are lucky.
You get what you pay for.
AppleBottomJeans (3) about 10 months ago
Who are you upset with? Okie State? Flo? ESPN? Flo should not try to get rights to the dual? Maybe ESPN sees the success in viewership it has on FLO and will pay more attention next time.

Serious Question.
joblue (4) about 10 months ago
When the Sr. writer of one of the top online wrestling websites isn't willing to spend $12.95 for a streaming service to watch the sport, what message does that send to ESPN regarding possible viewership from a larger demographic?
tortola15 (1) about 10 months ago
It would have been nice to see the match on TV but like others have said, all the sports networks had a chance to get the match. Clearly, cheerleading, poker, X-games events, etc. are more valuable to them. Now, the networks may be wrong but they do not know. Hence, OSU took the best offer made.

Now, besides that the match was probably more epic than most, especially with the great crowd. It was good (could been good TV).

I thank OSU and Flo making it available. That being said there were some technical difficulties miss some big moves (C. Rogers move to get to the pin!!!).

Regardless, it was fun.
Spladleman (1) about 10 months ago
I feel that if a company was serious about growing the sport, that they would be be willing to split the rights with a major network for these "big matches". Especially when they have problems streaming quality footage to large audiences. They have been getting better, but there are still some glitches.

Even if they had an alternative PPV for specific events, as opposed to having to purchase an annual, subscription it would expand viewership.
Monsieur Tarzan (2) about 10 months ago
Some fans are completely missing the point, complaining about people not being willing to pay for a $12.95 monthly subscription for Flo's online streaming. The goal is to broaden wrestling's popularity through broad media exposure. Let's face it, that means cable, either ESPN or one of the big three networks. Where's the push for this from the NCAA? From the schools? Even most wrestling fans don't watch the actual matches until they end up on youtube, yet we wonder why the fanbase doesn't grow.
Smee (1) about 10 months ago
Craig's right - it should have been on TV. The primary issue is with Okie State who struck the deal with Flo for their home Duals over a year ago. Yes, ESPN could have paid for it back then but ESPN owned the BIG 12 Network for 18 years and is as intimately aware of viewership across that footprint as the BIG 12 itself is. If they passed it's for a good reason. Since Okie State wasn't generating any revenue from the content they (as have several other BIG 12 schools) signed a deal with Flo. That Flo stinks as a live content provider is well knows as is their difficult way to get content at the advertised rate or cancel. But the issue here is Okie State. They took the easy way out and sold their home slate as a package and in turn did the sport no favors. You can decide who at Okie State to point fingers at.
jj3307 (2) about 10 months ago
Not $12.95, I would pay that but you can't go monthly or by the match. I will not pay $150 for the 4 or 5 things that catch my interest.
mzendars (2) about 10 months ago
I would like to see BTN broadcast all rounds of the Big 10 championships.
tonygansen (2) about 10 months ago
Great article Craig. Too bad my grandparents can't read it as Intermat is web based service. That internet service costs money and print newspapers are , well not free, but much cheaper. But Intermat should really get it together and start printing and mailing content like this or hand it over to USA Today so wrestling can get the exposure is deserves!
Bike_on (3) about 10 months ago
I watched the match on my 55" HDTV and enjoyed every moment - I pay and stream FLO and connected my HDMI cable. Wave of the future.
seeyajohn2 (2) about 9 months ago
Flo is available everywhere. Many cable channels are not. I am able to watch all of my team’s matches thanks to Flo, BTN+, and ESPN+. Flo, in particular, has enabled fans of “minor” sports to enjoy live and archived videos that were unavailable only a few years ago! In addition they have produced some excellent feature videos that help promote the sport
mrpinkac (1) about 9 months ago
How come I have to pay to read a dual preview on Intermat? Or see your recruiting ranking? I gladly pay to watch the sport I love. It’s not like the Big 10 network shows all the rounds of the B1G’s. Intermat was around long before Flo. Just because they did not have the foresight to see that showing tournaments & matches would be a great thing for fans, you sound like an old man.
Yes Man (1) about 9 months ago
This article is rubbish written by a charlatan.
hwstatus (1) about 9 months ago
I would like to see BTN broadcast all rounds of the Big 10 championships
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thematgorilla (1) about 9 months ago
Come on man!! You don't know how to watch the biggest dual of the season and had to get a text on the Pich v.Lee result? The only thing this article accomplished is showing that intermat is the least innovative wrestling site out there. Thanks to flo we could watch it! If it were up to intermat we would still be dialing up to get online to read box scores.
joblue (1) about 9 months ago
Some people are complaining this was not on TV (it was on my 55" wall-mounted TV) but what they are really complaining about is, "Why was this not part of my current subscription package?" Subscription packages from traditional cable providers are dying. ESPN is losing more and more subscribers every year and they seem to be having big lay-offs every six months. ESPN is dying. In today's streaming World you can pick and choose what content your subscription package contains. It can be as big or as small as you want it to be. For a lot of us, our subscriptions do not include traditional cable packages but it does include Flowrestling. Mine also includes Hulu which gives me the BTN as well which my local cable provider will not offer.
capclay (1) about 9 months ago
I wish I could find some fault with this, I hate osu, but the simple fact is you're right...Well said.
Duffnuts (1) about 9 months ago
Many comments are missing the point. Having Flo broadcast the match does not grow the fan base. The only people who might watch it on Flo are already committed to wrestling. We do need to have coverage of good wrestling matches available to people who are moderate or early fans. That's how to grow the fan base.
matrat (1) about 9 months ago
I would agree that high level wrestling needs to be more accessible for fans and youth. Though, Flo is the most advanced in content, creativity and accessibility out there. Yes there is a subscription fee to gain access to most of their content but it is the best available. ESPN, BTN and the major networks show very little wrestling. The only matches I cared to watch this year on ESPN were on ESPN+. You not only have to pay extra for ESPN as part of your cable or satellite package but ESPN+ is an additional fee. BTN is no better. Some matches were on BTN but most were on BTN+ which is also an additional fee.

In this day and age any serious wrestling fan should have a Flo subscription. They recently added World Wrestling events to their portfolio. Track had the claim on that and it was individual PPV events. Not on Flo. It is included. No additional fee! Flo also has added state championships. Most notably PIAA (team and individual championships).

As for announcing, those of you who do not have a Flo account check out some of the YouTube videos they have posted. The announcing is spectacular. This is all they do and they do it well. I've watched so many matches on other media networks where the announcers sound like they know something about wrestling but really do not. Example: PSU vs. Lehigh this year – RBY hits a back flip out of a standing single and the announcer calls it “the flying squirrel”. That was not the patented Flying Squirrel Ellis Coleman performed. It was Cary Kolt's patented move that he did in the PIAA state finals. Note that not all live events aired via Flo are commentated by Flo staff.

The only thing I feel Flo could do better in making their content more available would be to have school memberships for JH and HS teams. Perhaps a 10 or 20 person simultaneous login in subscription. This would benefit many children who are under privileged or are just learning the sport. We lose more kids to other sports because they don't see it in media. Other sports are so prevailing in media at every level. We need to compete with them to pull in the best athletes. I'm certain that most booster clubs would find the money for something like this.

In addition to live streamed events Flo also gives you great original content. Interviews with wrestlers and coaches. Pre and Post event breakdowns, individual match breakdowns, instructional videos from some of the best coaches around, the FRL show live stream and podcast (*love those guys), rankings and results as available and last but not least FloArena.

If you have any interest in the sport and are not on Flo because you don't want to pay a subscription fee you must not be that big of a fan. Your really missing out on what is going on in the sport.

P.S. If anyone on the Flo staff is reading – wish you would do more coverage of the up and coming girls at the HS and national level. This is something I feel is lacking on your part but is really taking hold within the sport. There are great female wrestlers out there and the opportunities for them are only growing. Flo needs to embrace this and give due coverage.
desanchise (1) about 9 months ago
You are a dinosaur. You write about cable networks as if they provide free access to everyone.

If you think it's so important, get InterMat to pick up wrestling content and then put it out for free.

The only thing that you've successfully done is troll Flo and get real wrestling fans to read your stupid take.