The Good, Bad, and Ugly of FloGrappling’s NoGi Pans Coverage

I had to bite the bullet this past Saturday and purchase the IBJJF NoGi Pans off FloGrappling in order watch my friends compete. I have previously ordered IBJJF events, Metamoris, ADCC, and EBI streams before, so this wasn’t my first rodeo with streaming online grappling events. However, this was my first experience using FloGrappling, who wrestled the online streaming rights for NoGi Pans, NoGi Worlds, and NY Pro League from Budo Videos. Here is my review of the good, bad, and the ugly of FloGrappling’s first live stream of an IBJJF event.

The Good

All Mats Had Coverage: Budo Video’s free stream for IBJJF Masters Worlds only covered 2 mats that featured black belts. We had the stream of Masters Worlds on the big screen TV at our academy and managed to watch our teammate compete in the background of a black belt match. While we were praying for camera angles to watch our friend compete, I couldn’t believe how weak Budo’s set up was for the event. FloGrappling had coverage on all mats, which Budo usually provides for major events like Mundials and Pans.

Score and clock graphic on the screen: I still remember when The NFL on Fox added the score and time graphic to the NFL broadcasts. It was a major game changer and greatly improved the viewing experience for all fans. At some events, Budo would have a camera on the mats and a small corner cut-in screen of the camera on the mat side scoreboard. It was low budget, but worked. FloGrappling introduced a more modern looking graphic in the bottom corner of the screen with the competitors name, score, and time. This is a great first step in upping the online stream experience for fans who are left in the dark about the score and time left in a match.

Ease of use in changing mats: The user interface was easy to navigate and I could switch from mat to mat. When I switched mats, I would have to press play again on the video player to start the stream over again, but that is a minor inconvenience. Overall, pretty easy for users to navigate from mat to mat.

The Bad

Video quality broke down a times: When I was watching popular black belt matches, the video quality would breakdown at times. This could be due to limited bandwidth and many users switching over to watch the more popular matches all at the same time. I would have to manually fix this by reloading the page and pressing play on the stream again to restore the picture quality.

Had to purchase monthly membership: While Budo Videos sold streams as one-off purchases, the only way to purchase NoGi Pans was to purchase a one-month membership to FloGrappling at $19.99 per month. I have previously paid $12.99 for a one-day pass for Worlds, $25 for a one-day online live stream for ADCC, and $15 for EBI 4, so the price wasn’t outrageous too me. I purchased the membership, then cancelled it the next day. $20 to see 4 friends compete in multiple matches as well as watching several intriguing black belt match ups was worth it to me. While others have griped about the price and terms, it is within the ballpark price for other events. However, giving an option to just purchase the event should be an option FloGrappling considers for future events.

Score and clock graphic were not always working: It was nice to have a graphic with the score and clock on the screen. It wasn’t nice when the score and clock weren’t working. The score and clock graphic could be linked to a data feed from the main scoreboard. I suspect FloGrappling is using their own person to manually manage their clock and scoreboard, which led to some complications and errors. At times, the clock would not start or only one name was entered into the graphic. FloGrappling should explore tying the scoreboard data feed directly into their graphic to fix this issue.

Needs to integrate with IBBJF Order of Matches pages: I had to go into the page for the NoGi Pans and pull up their ‘Order of Matches’ page which let me know the full event schedule and when and where the matches were taking place. Adding a simple ‘Order of Matches’ page link to the FloGrappling stream page  will help viewers with the ease of use and let them know when and which mat their friends are competing on.

You could hear people in background of camera griping: In the background of several mats, you could here IBJJF or FloGrappling staff griping about the work hours, technical glitches, or just talking about what they are doing after the event. In most cases it was innocent, although you could here some cursing and bickering. FloGrappling should work to clean this up to improve the user experience or have an uncomfortable conversations accidentally leaked over the internet.

The Good, Bad and Ugly

AJ Agazarm is a world traveler, Division 1 wrestler, BJJ Black Belt World Champion and now color commentator for the IBJJF. I love his enthusiasm and passion for the sport. He definitely brings great energy. He needs a Ying to balance out his Yang. Bringing in IBJJF veteran commentator Shawn Williams could provide a calmer, more technical perspective to work with AJ’s play-by-play. Give AJ time and let him grow into the role. Part of growing into the role is having a more seasoned mentor like Shawn Williams who can balance out the commentary with his technical analysis. Check out AJ in action during the Garry Tonon vs Gianni Grippo match in the video below.


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