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The Frontier League Flos Backward

The world of steaming is ever-changing, this is especially true when the streaming in question is associated with unaffiliated baseball. One of the best developments last year was that the Frontier League, FRON, finally went and developed a streaming service of their own. For $50 fans gained access to every single game, including the playoffs. It was a hell of a deal for a league with 16 teams that typically play a 96 game schedule. There were some small issues with the app interface, but all in all, it ended up being a massive success in terms of accessibility and availability. Going into 2022 I had hopes that some tweaks would be made and Frontier League TV would continue to grow.

Turns out the league had something else in mind as last week they announced a partnership with FloSports. What does this mean, well, mainly it means the death of Frontier League TV and that now all FRON games will exclusively be available on FloSports streaming service. On the surface, this doesn’t seem like that much of a change, but there are plenty of issues underneath the surface and when taken into totality they make this an absolute head-scratcher of a move by the league.

First and foremost there is the issue of price. Because FloSports offers more than just baseball you aren’t paying for just that, you’re also playing for grappling, auto racing, and however many other sports they carry. Let’s be honest, the majority of folks willing to pay to watch FRON games aren’t also interesting in watching Fight to Win or the Short Track Super Series. Still, there’s literally no way to access FloSports just for FRON, so you’re left with paying for the whole shebang. No matter whether you choose the monthly or annual option, the total price will come out to $150 for the season. That’s a $100 markup over what FRON fans were paying for Frontier League TV. It’s an absolutely insane ask from the league and a definite move backward in terms of accessibility and availability.

Next, there is the always present issue of the quality of FloSports streaming service. I’ve watched a few events on FloSports with friends through the years. One of the defining features of FloSports has been that their streams vary in quality from event to event. Some stream flawlessly while others stream okayish, and a lot are choppy with frequent losses of signal. I can recall streaming many a wrestling or grappling event where I became so frustrated with the quality of the stream that I simply gave up and told my friend either we switched to something else or I was bouncing. The argument FloSports will make is that stream quality is entirely in the hands of the organization streaming on their platform. That may be the case, or it could be an issue with FloSports’ inability to integrate the streams.

The main issue with FRON aligning themselves with FloSports is that it is a regressive move for the league. They were on the right track with their own streaming service and there’s little to suggest they should not have stayed down that path and continued to grow their league beyond its member club localities. However, this move seems designed to specifically drive away even the most hardcore of its fans. It’s hard to look at the current financial landscape of the world and envision FRON fans who say, “Sure, I’ll pay $100 more a year to watch FRON games on a wholly unreliable service.” This move is a step back for the league, one this is prohibitive to acquiring new fans outside of those already subscribed to FloSports for other sports. When it comes to those fans, perhaps they will pick up a few, but I don’t believe that number will be anywhere near enough to justify the platform switch in the first place.

This site doesn’t just report on the world of unaffiliated baseball. Whenever possible I champion the leagues and try to get as many people as possible to watch. Based on what I know of FloSports’ service and the pricepoint attached to their service I can no longer recommend that people seek out and watch FRON. It’s a great league, one that I have enjoyed watching and I honestly believe that most baseball fans would love watching the league. Not at $150 a year though, that’s why I’ll no longer be watching and I can’t in good conscience recommend anyone else spend that much money to watch either. This is a disastrous move for the Frontier League, one that sets the league back and will no doubt result in massive barriers being in place to cultivating and growing new fans.

Lead photo courtesy of Unknown – FloSports

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Bill Thompson
Father (human/feline/canine), husband, Paramedic, Socialist, writer Internet Baseball Writers Association of America and Off the Bench Baseball; freelance writer at various online and print publications. Member Internet Baseball Writers Association of America & Society for American Baseball Research.

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