USA Gymnastics makes surprising new deal, angering many
USA Gymnastics (USAG) is facing outrage and backlash after a striking change. On January 27th, 2021 USAG signed a five year deal with a subscription streaming service, FloSports.
In order to watch national gymnastics events like the Winter Cup in February, and other state and regional events, fans have to purchase subscriptions to FloSports. FloSports will also hold the media rights to every meet, video, and GIF.
These subscriptions aren’t cheap. The rates are currently $29.99/mo or $150/yr.
The gymnastics community is enraged because of these high prices and the streaming quality. According to Gymnastics Now, a blog that covers everything new in collegiate and professional gymnastics, many viewers of this company think the quality is poor.
Before this deal was signed, fans could watch any national gymnastic event on television on channels such as ESPN.
Some gymnastics enthusiasts are concerned that this deal will stop the promotion and accessibility of USA Gymnastics for everyone around the world. Popularity for all kinds of gymnastics is low and this deal lowers it even more.
Will gymnastics be as important and recognized in 10 years?
USAG is still recovering from a huge scandal from 2016. Larry Nassar, an olympic gymnastics team doctor, sexually assaulted hundreds of olympic athletes. According to ESPNW, lies and abuse were also uncovered at the Karolyi Ranch, a gymnastics camp of elite and olympic gymnasts.
“It seems USA Gymnastics is simply in the business of inflicting pain on survivors,” said John Manly, gymnast McKayla Maroney’s attorney (Gymnastics Now).
Gymnast celebrities are sometimes unable to speak out against USAG because of contracts with companies. The mother of Aly Raisman (a gymnast who won gold in the Olympics and who was repeatedly abuse by Larry Nassar) responded to the gymnastics media deal.
Many in the gymnastics community are flabbergasted. They find themselves asking the question, why would USAG struggling after the scandal, sign a contract with a company that contributed to this abuse?
USAG came out with a statement responding to the backlash:
“USA Gymnastics and FloSports are both committed to learning from past mistakes and implementing necessary changes to ensure those mistakes are not repeated,” the organization said.
The statement continues, “As we enter this partnership, we do so with the shared goals of increasing the reach of our sport at all levels and across all disciplines, empowering athletes and amplifying their voices, and enhancing the health and wellness resources available to USA Gymnastics members, while demonstrating consistent progress and accountability.”
“While we understand that some viewers may be skeptical of this change, we believe that the volume and range of events available via FloGymnastics – which will span all five gymnastics disciplines from the grassroots to elite levels – will increase reach and inspire greater participation in our sport.”
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