Beginning with the 2015 Glass Blown Open, live disc golf coverage has blossomed into something worthy of 3-5 hours of my time. While I may not be able to watch every single minute of it, I want to be able to look and see what is going on at any time during the broadcast. The Disc Golf Pro Tour, Smashboxx crew, and all the others helping with the live coverage of the DGPT events have worked together to bring all of us distanced spectators a quality product at no cost.
Reading about the history of Youtube, you wouldn’t think that the giant that the website is, it is only 11 years old. I won’t get into the statistics of the website in how many people use and the amount of video that is watched on a daily basis. I remember the first digital camera that I owned, and the pictures were horrible compared to film, and I can only imagine that video was in a comparable state.
Looking at the older videos of disc golf on Youtube, it makes me glad that we are where we are when it comes to broadcasting live via Youtube. That 1980’s look to videos when you aren’t viewing HD video is horrendous. When I filmed my first tournement back in May and uploaded the video, I was freaking out that it was only showing up at 360p when the upload finished. I didn’t realize that the video has to process on the servers before the HD versions are available.
I think about the episode of Final Round Radio that Billy Crump was on. He talks about his days of filming and producing DVDs to sell, and hardly ever making a profit even though he was selling a product. Bobby Brown, the Media Director of Dynamic Discs, started out in the same manner, and has talked about it in past podcast episodes. The history of our disc golf media is rich in its own right.
With the founding of Smashboxx, Terry Miller and Jon Van Deurzen brought us into the modern age of live disc golf coverage. Terry’s Disc Golf Guy Youtube channel had already been around bringing disc golf footage to the masses, and with the start of Smashboxx, they began doing a great job of bringing live disc golf on a budget. It wasn’t without some bumps and bruises, tech failures and mistakes, data limitations and bandwidth needs. Sure things were rough in the beginning, but since signing on with the Disc Golf Pro Tour to bring live coverage at each stop, their game has only gotten better.
What was that? What about Disc Golf Planet? They did live coverage long before Smashboxx was around!! Say it ain’t so. And Terry Miller worked with them before he created Smashboxx? Well, I’ll be…
Ok, so I know that DGPTV was around, and have seen their group’s live coverage only twice. That was at 2015 Pro Worlds, which was wholly DGPTV, and their crew that did the first Disc Golf World Tour event at La Mirada. I was not impressed with their work at either event. 2015 Pro Worlds was comparable to Smashboxx’s coverage of about a year ago. The La Mirada DGWT event was great quality video but poor camera work. It got better by the end of the production, but then again, as I have learned, disc golf is a hard sport to film.
Bringing things to the present, live disc golf coverage has come a long way. The Disc Golf Pro Tour made a commitment to providing live coverage of all of its events. The first event, the Vibram Open, was a bit of a mess due to signal and technical issues, but when it was on, it was on. Steve Dodge made the rounds in disc golf media, appearing on almost every podcast that discusses disc golf. He mentioned that they were hard at work on creating set pieces to show during dead air so we wouldn’t have to look at people walking down fairways to their discs.
All of that hard work has paid off for the DGPT. The Minnesota Majestic was the most polished broadcast I have seen of any live disc golf to date. Commercials from Keen, Legacy, Prodigy, DUDE, DGA and others brought the dead space to a halt. Add in the exceptional addition of the Udisc stats and the analysis segments provided by Jamie Thomas, and the production has become top notch for the budget that is available.
A lot of hoopla was made over the lack of broadcast from the Disc Golf World Tour. While it made sense not to have any live broadcast for the European events, it makes one wonder what the 2016 USDGC will be like. Will we have something from the Terra Firma Media Group, which is the parent company of Disc Golf Planet, or will it be Smashboxx providing the coverage? Jussi Meresmaa has made it clear that he thinks streaming coverage online in its present state is a low quality solution to media coverage for disc golf. Now, I’m not as well connected as Steve Hill of Ultiworld Disc Golf, but responses on social media can provide some insight.
To sum it up…
I love the state of live disc golf coverage as we know it. Sure, things can improve, and they are doing so. I look forward to what happens in the future, whether I am a part of it or not. I’ll support any efforts to improve the broadcasts of live disc golf.
Pro Worlds 2016
The big one starts this morning. Smashboxx posted earlier that they would be covering the FPO division for the first round. With the staff of Dynamic Discs leading the way, I expect the media coverage to be nothing short of great. Look for posts on the Smashboxx Facebook page and Twitter account regarding any further coverage information. What’s the best disc golf putter?