ICF SUP World championships streaming problems

The ICF is no longer giving fans access to free content.

Stand Up Magazin Ed Opinion

The fact that the ICF is no longer streaming their events via Facebook and Youtube, like most other niche sports. (ex. WSL) was a bit of a shock to the paddle community. The SUP fans are not having it and neither are the canoe fans. In a recent article Chris Parker from SUPracer summoned up all the comments from the canoe community and gave his own piece of mind. The community agreed.

In our case here we could not agree more and are surprised by the move, but then in hind-sight also not. Lets not forget that the ICF is a big corporate organization and from a SUP point of view the “honeymoon” phase had to be over at some point. It all started with the “Wine and dine” phase back in China when the SUP community was invited to be part of a great inaugural SUP race. The Stand Up Magazin was not part of it all but the stories of how good the event was run made their rounds. That was in 2019. Then we took a break in 2020 with the Covid 19 pandemic.

The next event was in 2021 in Hungary and we were invited to help with media work at the event. This was the first time we got to see how the ICF runs their show. Everything was planned and structured to the detail. The “Honeymoon Phase” was still in full swing as athletes were being flown in to be part of the event. The races and the organization of it all was flawless. The web cast was top notch quality and we got nothing but compliments from the viewers, not only on how good the streaming was but people loved the work of the Stand Up Magazin and TotalSUP.

The future seemed bright, the ICF had it figured out. All the years for the short comings of the ISA seemed forgotten. People were super stoked and the ICF had everybody’s goodwill. Things were to repeat themselves in Poland and they mostly did apart from a few disorganizations in the long-distance race and the absents of our favorite speaker Mr. Parker.

The 2023 ICF SUP World Champion ships were announced to be in Thailand. Not everybody was happy with it, but the event had to move out of Europe at some point again and there are arrangements for board rentals and transport. With the November date approaching hopefuls like the three main SUP media (TotalSUP / SUP Racer / Stand Up Magazin) hoping to get a job at the event were sadly disappointed. Due to budgetary reasons, so the explanation, SUP media will not be hired but rather inhouse people will be put in front of the microphone. This off course is always very unfortunate, particularly if you have to listen to people commentating a sport the barely know the athletes participating, let alone their history. This however is nothing new, the ISA always hires professional commentators that know how to speak, except they have no knowledge about the sport they are narrating. Similar situation at the APP as well.

Either way, this rather sobering decision was to be expected at some point, even we did not to foresee it, after the fact, it was clear that it was coming at some point.

The Honeymoon Phase is over

Its always hard to swallow when people were spoiled in the beginning and then things are being walked back. This is exactly what is happening here. The SUP community saw that the ICF can hold great events that are well organized. Now it is time to save money and be more conscious about the budget. Flying in key people in from the SUP community is no longer necessary as the ICF has gained traction.

Paywall streaming platform makes no sense

While we can somewhat understand budgetary decisions even if the quality of the product might suffer, it will be manageable for the ICF. Why they are alienating their entire community by hiding their content behind a pay wall to see the stream on a completely unknown streaming service that even restricts re-distributing the content makes no sense. Even from a business point of view. Niche sports like surfing, canoe or SUP can’t afford to loose viewer ship, in fact they have todo all they can to gain viewer ship. This is why you make your content as widely available on as many platforms as possible and then sell advertising to select sponsors. You can tell your sponsors to be assured that your content will travel as far as possible thanks to media partnerships and cross posting. Content that goes viral is marketing gold.

Instead the ICF does the opposite, they hold the content in and make people pay for it. In the age TikTok, youtube shorts and reels, a page like recast seems to be obsolete. If you like to catch the accidental drop in on your channel you for sure don’t put your content on a page where you have to sign up first to even see anything. Looking at their website it appears that there are barely any channels and the ones that are there seem completely boring.

So why the ICF is hiding their content remains a big mystery and we can only speculate that it has todo with money. If it is the money and they are hoping to up their revenue from a SUP event this will back fire big time; in fact it already does.

Goodwill and respect are hard to earn and fast to loose

The ICF has worked multiple years to steer the goodwill of the community away from the ISA and they were successful with it. Why jeopardizing all the money they put into the good PR when the good reputation can go away with one donkey decision causing a shit storm as we are seeing right now. Particularly when we keep in mind that the IOC still decided in the favor of the ISA for Olympic inclusion.

As far as the Stand Up Magazin goes we are always thankful for any kind of job, but we seen too many things coming and going so we hold our great memories dear with the knowledge that they might have been a once a live time opportunity. With that being said, maybe I let you decide if the Stand Up Magazin goes to Thailand and open up a gofund me page and go on behalf of all the SUP lovers.

What do you think? Send me an email media@standupmagazin.com

Check out the back stage video from Balaton 2021


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