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PIAA’s deal with Flo Wrestling bad news for TV watchers

Commentary

If you turned to PCN on Saturday to watch the championship finals of the PIAA Dual Meet Championships, you were out of luck.

Flo Wrestling was the only provider carrying the finals, as well as many of the other matches during the three-day tournament. That means the only way you could have watched it was online.

If you’re from the older generation and just want to turn on the TV and watch wrestling, or you don’t want to buy a monthly subscription to Flo Wrestling, there’s even more bad news.

Flo Wrestling has worked out a deal with the PIAA to provide live and on-demand coverage of the individual state tournament and the dual meet tournament through the 2022 academic year.

PCN will no longer carry the finals of either tournament.

You will have to buy a monthly subscription to Flo Wrestling’s PRO plan, which starts at $12.50 a month. You can only watch the tournaments online or through the FloSports app on iOS, Roku or Apple TV 4.

To me, this isn’t promoting the sport of wrestling. It’s pushing the fans who have watched on TV for so many years, like my late dad, away from the sport.

Sure, hardcore wrestling fans won’t object because they probably already have a subscription and watch high school, college and international wrestling all year.

But what if you’re a fan who just wants to watch the finals of both tournaments, and you don’t watch wrestling online all year? I love wrestling, but I also love saving money and watching wrestling for free on TV.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of the free stuff that Flo and Flo Arena provide — like brackets and live updates of bouts, recent results and team standings. I followed Chestnut Ridge en route to taking third at the PIAA Duals through Flo Arena and Twitter. It helps me so much with my coverage.

What if we had to buy a subscription to Flo Wrestling to watch Friday night’s titanic Penn State-Ohio State match instead of watching it on the Big Ten Network?

We wouldn’t have seen Roman Bravo-Young and Nick Lee pull off upsets or Bo Nickal pin second-ranked Kollin Moore in the first period during the Nittany Lions’ 28-9 domination.

Oh wait, Flo Wrestling was to broadcast the No. 1 Lions Oklahoma State in the NWCA Dual Championship Series title match in 2017. Remember that? The website crashed and most fans couldn’t watch the match.

What if that happens while Chestnut Ridge’s Jared McGill or Glendale’s Brock McMillen are wrestling in the state finals?

You’ll be left scrambling to find video or results on social media, which is what we had to do for the Penn State match in 2017.

Congrats to Marko, Lazor

Congratulations to Central’s Dave Marko and Chestnut Ridges’ Greg Lazor on reaching coaching milestones in the past week.

Marko captured his 300th win at the Marion Center Duals, and Lazor earned his 200th victory at the PIAA Duals. Marko is 302-100 in his 23rd year of coaching, while Lazor is 203-48 in his 11th year at Ridge.

Marko is one of a record 18 who will be inducted into the District 6 Hall of Fame over the next two weekends before the finals of the District 6 Class 2A Tournament and the Class 3A Tournament.

Todd Irwin can be reached at tirwin@altoonamirror.com. He can be followed on Twitter at @ToddIrwin1.

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