FCC Announces Controversial Partnership with Flo Sports

This Monday, FC Cincinnati announced that it has signed a multiyear partnership with Flo Sports to provide on demand streaming services to the tri-state area. 

The area Flo Sports will be covering will stretch from Orange County, Indiana, in the east, Adams County, Ohio in the west, Harden County, Ohio in the north, and Whitley County, Kentucky in the south. A map of all the entire area of the covered by Flo Sports is available here

This deal cements Flo Sports as the only streaming provider for FCC matches in in the locations dictated by the deal. Unless an option, Like Star 64, is available through a TV provider, Flo Sports is the sole option for local FCC fans for the game. Any viewers outside of the range of Flo Sports can continue streaming FCC games on ESPN+. The streaming service offers two packages, a basic $12 subscription, and a $30 premium package.

This move has been heavily criticized by supporters of FCC since it was announced, especially the burgeoning chapters in Lexington and Dayton. The Pride, a large independent supports group, released a statement in which they wrote that they felt “incredibly disheartened” by the deal with Flo Spots. In this statement, The Pride made claims that the club did not consult any supporters’ groups before making this move and that Flo Sports does not have the same content quality as other streaming services and at a higher cost. The Pride called the move “a slap in the face to one of the strongest and fastest growing supporter bases in the entirety of North American Soccer.”

Timber Army, a supporters’ group for the Portland Timbers, showed support for the FCC supporters by saying “it’s frustrating that MLS continues to allow club to enter into regional sports agreements that serve to lock their most fervent supports out of watching their club.” in a reply to the statement posted on Twitter.

The Pride’s claims of poor quality and high prices seem to have substance to it. D.C. United was the first MLS team to stream their games on Flo Sports and was met with ire from their fans despite them being given discounts, something FCC supporters did not receive. Many viewers D.C. experienced blackouts, poor quality, and interruptions on mobile devices.  D.C. United Co-Chairmen Steve Kaplan can Jason Levien have released a statement on Monday assuring fans that they are working to solve this issue. The Pride cited a 600% increase in price for streaming however my own mouth found that the cost difference comes out to be 500%.

However, this slightly smaller number still spells a higher cost for supporters.

This higher price in tandem with FCC being a major partner for Flo Sports to projects a high profit if fans buy in.  In a Twitter announcement this Wednesday, Jeff Berding explained the clubs reasoning for choosing Flo Sports. He explained that they were working with the streaming service to provide an elevated experience then the one D.C. United fans had to bear. Berding explained that  ESPN+ was not a streaming option for both Dayton and Lexington fans due to the service being suspended in markets that have a local broadcast. 

This is back up by the ESPN website and an article by "The Ringer." Flo Sports will provide pub partners with complementary streaming services.