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FloSports Agreement Feels Like Slight Upon Further Examination

While Kentucky, Auburn fans watch overseas games for free, Hog fans pony up $30
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When it was first announced that the Arkansas basketball European tour would be streamed on FloSports it raised eyebrows, but there was some level of acceptance of overseas August basketball finding its way onto whatever service might be desperate enough to pick it up.

Sure, the SEC Network needs additional programming so it doesn’t have to run what feels like an entire day’s worth of SEC Now repeats before Paul Finebaum gets around to doing his show, but it’s probably too expensive to work something out for these sort of games.

At least that was the thought until Razorback fans turn to their channel guide and to find Auburn and Kentucky overseas games being aired much to the delight of their fans.

Arkansas coach Eric Musselman, wearing his San Diego Padres' gear, yells instructions at Wednesday's practice as the Razorbacks get ready for European exhibition games.

Arkansas coach Eric Musselman, wearing his San Diego Padres' gear, yells instructions at Wednesday's practice as the Razorbacks get ready for European exhibition games.

No Tigers or Wildcats are getting gouged to catch a glimpse of their upcoming teams. Of this past season’s “Big 3,” only Arkansas gets left out of the SEC broadcast mix.

This leads to a pair of clear deductions where at least one is correct and possibly both. Either way, disrespect is involved.

Possibility No. 1 is the SEC Network didn't deem Arkansas worthy of investment and air time, especially when compared to Auburn and Kentucky. It could be true, but the information surrounding such a decision doesn't add up.

Simply from a ratings standpoint, it doesn't make sense. 

Razorback fans have nearly 50 years of packing the Nielsen ratings when it comes to basketball. Even in bad years, Arkansas outdraws most of the league when it comes to television.

Also, the Razorbacks have been the SEC bell cow when it comes to the NCAA tournament these past two years. 

Gonzaga Bulldogs center Chet Holmgren (34) battles for the ball against Arkansas Razorbacks forward Kamani Johnson (20) during the first half in the semifinals of the West regional. The win sets up a rematch of the 1994 national championship game between Duke and Arkansas in the Elite 8 in what is Blue Devils' coach Mike Krzyzewski's final season.

Gonzaga Bulldogs center Chet Holmgren (34) battles for the ball against Arkansas Razorbacks forward Kamani Johnson (20) during the first half in the semifinals of the West regional. The win set up a rematch of the 1994 national championship game between Duke and Arkansas in the Elite 8 in what was Blue Devils' coach Mike Krzyzewski's final season.

Factor in that Eric Musselman has crammed every drop of talent possible onto his bench with this latest recruiting class, and it's easy to put together that tempting a feverish fan base with an overseas glimpse is like running a plate of someone's favorite food under their nose when they haven't had time to eat all day.

Never mind that the SEC Network marketing team could lure in other viewers by promoting the chance to catch a first glimpse of a long list of ESPN 300 recruits. 

While it's possible that ESPN just straight up refused to air Arkansas alongside Kentucky and Auburn, it doesn't make much sense from a business standpoint. 

So with that possibility at least reduced to illogical, it's time to consider the second potential reason why Arkansas fans are being forced to shell out a good chunk of cash to see these exhibition games. 

While nothing has come out detailing specifically how much money Arkansas is getting, if any, to have their games aired on FloSports, it stands to reason that a quick pop in revenue is probably being generated from the Texas based company.

Of course, this raises the question as to whether the university chose pocketing what in the grand scheme of things is most likely a light amount of cash over its loyal fans.

While a cut of a subscription fee isn't much to a monster like the Arkansas athletic program, $30 for many families in Arkansas is the ability to get to work, paying for a child's activity fee on a tight budget, or covering the cost of school lunches for a bit. 

While there are high end donors at Arkansa — and it's been made clear those are the ones who matter — a massive chunk of the Razorback fan base lives paycheck to paycheck.

Life is hard for a lot of these people and the chance to sit down and watch the Hogs play takes them away from those hardships temporarily.

The last thing they need is to sit around pondering whether they need to pick up an extra shift this week to cover the cost of exhibition games. 

It potentially gets worse. FloSports is designed to be a sign up and forget it business model.

Razorbacks freshman Jordan Walsh during an August afternoon practice in preparation for European exhibition games in Spain and Italy.

Razorbacks freshman Jordan Walsh during an August afternoon practice in preparation for European exhibition games in Spain and Italy.

Their goal is to get you to subscribe and then not remember they are dipping into your bank account every month while you're not watching their programming. 

Case in point, a lot of high school band parents out there just remembered they have a FloMarching account they opened two years ago so they could see their kids compete at a single national event.

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Either way this has shaken out, Arkansas fans come out on the short end of the stick. 

Whether the SEC Network doesn't value Arkansas basketball an its fans enough to provide the air time, or the university doesn't value its fans enough to think of them when trying to squeeze out a cheap buck, Razorback fans lose out either way.

The same thing is going to happen in baseball in 2023. Fans are going to get roped into dishing out more money to see three games that are all worthy of being on legitimate TV.

It's never good business to undervalue a specific segment of your customers or take them for granted. 

Unfortunately for many Razorback fans, that's exactly how it feels.

Arkansas Divider

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Arkansas Divider

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