Should we be a little more grateful that Zuckerberg is on the surf team?
The keyboard warriors have been slamming on through their LifeProof cases, spreading nothing but hate for Facebook and the new viewing platform. I’ve got a serious question for all you donkeys who have nothing better to do than bash Facebook, The WSL, and Mikey Fucking Wright… Would you rather us not get to watch the tour at all? Would you rather things go back to the way they were when each event had its own broadcast put on by the sponsors? Would you rather have a random dingbat on the commentary team over legends like Ronnie and Turpel? Those sites crashed all the time and usually only had 1-2 camera angles. Besides that, the brands don’t have the money or media teams to put something like that together. Redbull may be the most profitable company associated with our sport. It definitely has the best media team of any brand. The problem is the WSL and Redbull don’t play well together. I do love watching their childish back- and-forth antics. However, I don’t see them working together anytime soon.
The WSL has been losing money hand over fist trying to put together a product that can be enjoyed by the masses. Many “hardcore” surfers don’t want surfing to go mainstream. I get it — I’ve already had to take up residency on an island to get away from the SoCal crowds. The thing is, the brands are suffering. Kids in middle America aren’t ‘buying surfing’ anymore, so why do we think it will grow at all? Bobby Martinez certainly doesn’t think it will. Why don’t we rejoice that we get five camera angles, a pretty decent commentary crew, and a financial backer in Dirk Ziff that is willing to lose money to help achieve his vision?
I'm not in the know, but rumour has it, the WSL should receive around $30MM via the Facebook deal. That is great news for surfing fans. It means we get at least two more years of quality broadcasts guaranteed. The broadcast sucks you say? Too many glitches, you say? Erroneous! Erroneous on both counts!
You can stream the feed from anywhere in the world, using virtually any device, with very little downtime. Compare that to the NFL. If your home team doesn’t sell out a game, they blackout the entire local market!
Take a look at American sports such as baseball, hockey, and football — you have to pay around $200 a month for an extended cable or dish package to watch all the games. The WSL is free because of Facebook! They were seriously considering a pay-per-view model, but Facebook for all its fake news failings and election dabbling, has saved us from putting our hands in our pockets. For me it’s hard to complain about free. As someone who has run a few different businesses and even tried to put together a small charity golf event, I know that early on, shit happens. So let’s let these guys figure it out before we continue to pile on the hate. Onya WSL, and onya Facebook, for allowing me and even the haters to continue watching what we love, great surfing. Amen.