Flotrack Signs Multi-Year Deal To Steam Diamond League Starting In 2025

By Citius Mag Staff

April 11, 2024

FloSports and the Wanda Diamond League have signed a multi-year deal that will stream and distribute 14 of the 15 meets on Flotrack starting in 2025.

Here’s what you need to know:

– NBC Sports and the Diamond League signed a three-year media-rights deal in 2017 for television and streaming rights to the series. In 2020, World Athletics signed a 10-year deal with NBC Sports for rights to all World Athletics Series events, which includes five editions of the World Athletics Championships through 2029. The Diamond League is not managed by World Athletics and is not included in that broadcast rights deal.

– FloTrack currently streams the Continental Tour and the World Athletics Indoor Tour meets with a subscription of $29.99/month or $149.99/year.

– For the past few years, fans could watch the Diamond League on NBC’s network of channels or stream it on Peacock (with a subscription of $5.99/month or $59.99/year).

– The news release on FloSports’ Diamond League package notes that it does not include domestic events held in the United States, which excludes the Prefontaine Classic at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

– Specific details about the financial terms of the deal or the length were not disclosed in the news release.

– The 2024 Diamond League season begins on April 20th in Xiamen, China and runs through a two-day final on Sept. 13th and 14th in Brussels. 10 of the meets will be contested before the Paris Olympics, where track and field will be in action from Aug. 1 to 11th. Five meets will take place after the Games. Last month, the World Athletics Council announced a change that starting in 2025, the World Athletics Championships will mark the end of each season in mid-September.

A Decision Met With Criticism

The reaction to the news of FloSports’ Diamond League rights acquisition was met with overwhelmingly negative criticism from athletes and fans on social media.

Some thoughts via Kyle Merber in The Lap Count Newsletter (April 17, 2024):

If you had to assign a dollar amount to how much you love watching track and field, what would it be? If you said $29.99/month, then boy, are you in luck! Just don’t gloat too loudly in front of all the other fans who have enjoyed the Diamond League coverage on Peacock in recent years are not thrilled as the event’s US distribution rights have been awarded to Flotrack starting in 2025.

For our friends at Flotrack, this is a great pick-up! There is a subset of track fans who do not have any interest in watching thirty heats of the mile at the Valentine Invitational, but do want to watch Noah Lyles chase the 200m world record. They’ll probably pony up the cash for another streaming service while wishing for a return to the days of cable television.

Others will download a VPN to watch on YouTube from “New Zealand” or wait for an entire race to be uploaded to X minutes after it finished. If you really care then you will find a way to watch, which has always been the case for our niche little sport. The problem is that the opportunity for mass adoption is now severely limited.

As a case study, let’s look at the Caitlin Clark and women’s basketball revolution that we’re enjoying. As the buzz around Clark’s play grew, and the interest in watching her sink 25-footers multiplied, there was an opportunity to move big Iowa games from ESPNU to ABC to further amplify the audience. The media people – who, let me be clear, deserve significantly less credit in this instance than Clark and the actual athletes – recognized at a certain point that the ceiling was not, “how many people pay to watch women’s basketball?,” but instead “how many TVs are there in the country?”

Track doesn’t currently operate that way. Instead, we have yet another barrier to entry to becoming a track fan because knowing what matters, who is competing when, and how to tune in was already difficult enough. Now add in a bigger challenge of where and how, and it is difficult to feel overly optimistic about the growth of the Diamond League in the United States.

And as much as commenters are pointing fingers at Seb Coe and World Athletics, they probably aren’t thrilled! This is out of their control because the Diamond League is not a World Athletics owned property. Have you ever noticed that World Athletics never posts any videos or races from the series? That’s because they can’t.

As pointed out in this great article, a third-party called "Infront Sports & Media “acquired the rights to source international broadcasters for the Diamond League starting in 2025.” They’re not invested in what’s good for the sport. Their job is to sell a product for the most money possible and clearly there were not enough viewers watching Lausanne on a Tuesday afternoon to make it worth Peacock’s time, money, or effort to continue the relationship.

So what now? I have a theory or at least a hope. In 2019, FloSports raised $47M in a Series C round that was led by its previous investor, Discovery Inc. In 2022, Discovery merged with WarnerMedia and that union begat the streaming platform known simply as Max. There is a huge race among these competing streamers to add live sports to their offerings. NBCUniversal paid $110M for exclusive rights for a single NFL playoff game to be shown on Peacock. Netflix just bought WWE’s RAW for $5 BILLION DOLLARS. It’s the golden age of selling live sports rights!

Max is currently $9.99/month and its live sports add-on will eventually be an additional $9.99/month. As it stands today, there is a smattering of NBA, NHL, MLB, and cycling baked in… but it needs more. That’s why Warner Bros. Media should buy out the rest of FloSports and make its niche sports offerings available to its ~100 million subscribers.

My bold prediction: We’ll be watching the Diamond League in 2025 on HBO HBOMax Max… or whatever the suits at WarnerMedia are calling it by then.

For more of the top stories and analysis from the biggest stories in track and field from the past week, subscribe to The Lap Count newsletter for free. New edition every Wednesday morning at 6:30 a.m. ET.

Citius Mag Staff