Man, have I heard a lot of moronic stuff coming from indoor football fans lately. Some are just not knowing how things work, like the video complaint about the end of the Carolina Havoc/Cape Fear Heroes game where the complainer didn't know how electric time clocks work. Or really time in general, given his comments about partial seconds.
There were the elitist complaints against the Burgh Defenders for moving into a local multipurpose arena with more options from a campus arena. The only non-university arena that hosts more than 3,500 fans and currently available for sporting events is the Pittsburgh Penguins' PPG Paints Arena, but dammit if you don't put this expansion AAL team dealing with heartbreak and growing pains there, because those "true indoor fans" will just write you off.
Then there's the fans that are completely adamant that the delay of the National Gridiron League makes total sense and that anyone calling the league a sham is a "hater". Cancelling that many games and dealing with contract minimums with all those venues is not feasible for the NGL. This fan argument is truly sad.
But the one that has exceptionally miffed me have been the complaints about Champions Indoor Football games on Pluto TV. The level of community incompetence about how these games are produced, directed, shared and the impact they have on individual franchises is truly insulting.
Most complaints I've seen about Pluto equate to people not knowing what the platform is and their arguments sound like a person upset about the move from VCR's to DVD's. So to avoid the old-man-yells-at-cloud problems, Pluto is one of the most successful startup entertainment apps of all time.
It is a free service allowing people to get quality movies, television and news in a way similar to channel flipping through a satellite or cable provider. As they've grown consistently from their debut in 2014, they now partner with groups like Fox Sports, NASA, Buzzr, CNET and more. The quality of television and movies have also increased as their budget has grown, an impressive feat since revenue only comes from advertising sales. Pluto continues to be a popular option for cord cutters, especially in the Rocky Mountain and Great Plains areas. The product is so good that it was worth $340 million to Viacom as they announced that they bought Pluto in January.
Yet the CIF is still available on Pluto and their regular season will be broadcasted this weekend. This platform that continues to grow and pick up bigger partners left and right stands with the CIF. Live sports will continue to be a difficulty for Pluto's business model, especially with things like Bleacher Report and Monumental Sports, but this pairing gives the CIF a lot of clout outside of the indoor football circles. That clout can turn into consistent advertising revenue for the league and teams.
What additional production value will be added is yet to be seen as well as any additional programming potential like highlights, halftime and pre/post game shows or whether rebroadcasts will be available after the game is over. Theoretically if a deal could be reached with other indoor leagues for more content, a whole channel devoted to indoor football could be well received on Pluto.
But that relies heavily on what leagues, especially the CIF, are currently doing with their broadcasts. This is where some other complaints come in about how different teams put out their product.
The production value is such a big deal, especially for the CIF with their loss of Bismarck last season. The Bucks have made zero changes in their broadcast production from the CIF to IFL, despite the games now being on YouTube compared to Pluto. While Quad Cities had the best attendance at home, Bismarck had the most professional broadcasts for opposing fans. They did more with replays, graphic packages and in-game promotions all with more reliable audio and visual feeds.
Now this isn't to discredit all arguments about the broadcast quality, but to fully understand the credible issues, the fans must understand where the CIF's broadcasts end and where Pluto's steaming services begin. Some of the quality from the physical cameras and lenses is not high enough for the red turfs by some teams. The fluctuation of upload speed makes it pretty obvious which arenas are not using a dedicated router compared to sharing it with other media and gameday staff or even just using the public WiFi. If the graphics look blurry, then that's usually an image ratio issue that can be fixed.
All of these issues happen before it gets to Pluto, so blaming Pluto isn't going to do anything constructive. What it does accomplish is destroy a positive relationship that helps out CIF franchises a lot, challenges the CIF as a leader in the indoor football world and deters a way to get the sport to new audiences. If your complaining persists, get a smarter argument before you kill off something good in indoor football.