Big Money Skins: What Happened?
By now I’m sure you’ve heard of the Big Money Skins Match at Eagles Crossing. Normally, the Skins Matches are a post produced bit of content that comes out the Tuesday after a DGPT stop on the GK Pro YouTube page. This was supposed to be the last hurrah for the 2022 season with 50K going to the winner. It was promised to be something like we’d never seen before. And they delivered on that promise, though not the way GK Pro would have hoped.
Now as part of being fully transparent I did not pay the $14.99 to watch this live. I was never really into watching the skins matches prior and the lack of advertising ahead of time made it, so I basically forgot about it. On the Joe’s Disc Golf Podcast, I laid out three potential scenarios.
Everything runs great. It’s a beautiful production that puts DGN to shame. And DGN should take pointers from this production.
Everything goes to hell in a handbasket, and we appreciate DGN for what they offer; flaws and all.
They do some things well and other things not so great. We appreciate some aspects of DGN. Hopefully DGN would learn a few things from that professional broadcast crew that improving the overall product.
What From Big Money Skins Delivered
I said at the time, literally hours before the play-in event, that Scenario 3 was the most likely possibility. The DGN crew understands how a disc will fly and know how to frame that shot. DGN has also grown a lot when it comes to switching to different shots without losing anything. With that being said, DGN is still very new, and a more experienced crew would likely do things in a way that DGN might not have thought of or just had some tricks from years of broadcasting.
I could not have been more wrong in my assessment. Turns out that we got Scenario 2 on steroids. This wasn’t just a case of Murphy’s Law either. You could think that at the beginning with a few of the quality issues, delayed start, and stumbles out of the gate. However, it became truly clear to everyone watching that this was an unqualified team trying to run this production.
I want to make it clear that I do not hold GK Pro completely responsible for this mess. As I understand it, GK Pro was contracted by Eagles Crossing and Mason Productions was also contracted separately from GK Pro. The three entities were contracted to work together to make the Big Money Skins livestream.
The Horror, The Horror
GK Pro did end up doing most of the promotion and coordination for the cameras and production. GK Pro did not run the cameras; Mason Production union contractors ran them. These union contractors had never covered disc golf before and that was very, very apparent. When the feed went live, I hoped on to check out what the fuss was about. I turned it off within minutes because I was motion sick. I never get motion sick. The camera operator was standing in front of the tee pad, about the two o’clock position, and would whip the camera to follow the disc. Adding to that, the camera work was physically shaky even when looking at the players.
Adding to the misery were the audio issues. When the stream eventually started you couldn’t hear the commentators. Fun fact, the horrendous livestream is still up on the Vimeo site. I had the audio cranked and barely could hear anything. At one point when I was listening, I thought there was something wrong with my speakers because I only heard Big Jerm talking from the left speaker. After unplugging and re-plugging everything and switching to my laptop I figured out the issue was on their end and not my system.
It would have been one thing if the video quality was awesome, and the audio worked but the camera operator didn’t know that a right-hand back hand shot will finish left on a standard hyzer shot. But as you can see in the video and from what I have already described that wasn’t the case.
Looking at the About Page on the Live Disc Golf page they say that they laid, “miles of video cable … to camera locations so that we can bring you a network-quality live broadcast.” The logical assumption was that the cameras were hardwired into a network broadcast truck. The audio and video would be mixed then sent to the GK Pro YouTube page and the LiveDiscGolf.net site via Vimeo.
Listening to the interviews with GK Pro, they made it sound like the cameras were using the mesh WIFI network on the Eagles Crossing property. According to the Nick and Matt Show, everything ran on the WIFI great on Friday. It was when the spectators showed up Saturday and used the free public WIFI, that’s when a lot of the issues came up. It’s unfortunate that no one thought to make the WIFI password protected and just explain to the spectators that it’s for broadcast quality concerns and sorry for the inconvenience.
Reading the comments of the Vimeo page, the consensus is that the production was overhyped, and everyone wanted a refund. DiscGolf.Law tweeted to contact them if you felt like you didn’t get your money’s worth. I reached out to DiscGolf.Law asking about the tweet and the situation as a whole.
Anyone who paid for the #gkpro #bigmoneyskins pay-per-view coverage and feels like they didn't get what they paid for, please feel free to DM us. We're going to volunteer some time to make sure @GKProDiscGolf does the right thing and takes care of its customers. #discgolf— DiscGolf.Law (@discgolfdotlaw) October 22, 2022
In case you missed it, the tweet read, “Anyone who paid for the #gkpro #bigmoneyskins pay-per-view coverage and feels like they didn’t get what they paid for, please feel free to DM us. We’re going to volunteer some time to make sure @GKProDiscGolf does the right thing and takes care of its customers. #discgolf”
You could interpret the tweet a few separate ways from just a gentle push to do the right thing to grab your pitchforks and torches everyone. I reached out to DiscGolf.Law to find out what they meant about the tweet and if they had any other insight to this situation.
I had the chance to speak with Chris and Matt from DiscGolf.Law. When asked about the tweet Chris said, “we didn’t compose and publish that tweet in hopes that we could attack GK Pro or sue them or get a class action suit going or something like that.” He went on to say, “…the background that I think a lot of people don’t have is if we were actually a sponsor of GK Pro Skins earlier. … We weren’t a sponsor in 2022. But we were in 2021 and I expect we will be again in the future.”
I think we can take them at their word that they weren’t trying to attack GK Pro but encourage them to do the right thing. If they were trying to attack GK Pro, I doubt they’d try to set up a sponsorship arrangement in 2023. Ultimately, they wanted GK Pro to refund the money collected for the Big Money Skins because they did not deliver on the product that was sold.
The biggest question that Chris, Matt, and I want answered but will likely never get the answer is, ‘what did the contracts look like going into this event.’ “… I’m really curious about who had time, who had written contract with them before this and were they drafted properly? Did that provide some kind of relief or remedy in the event something like this were to happen again?”
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
Chris went on to say, “You know what we are what our business is all about and our law firm is trying to work with disc golfers and disc golf related companies to protect themselves the way that most businesses do in most industries.” DiscGolf.Law is trying to protect disc golfers and disc golf companies. “…it is a minimal investment to avoid really what could potentially be a really costly mistake down the road. And [Big Money Skins live stream] is an example of that, I think.”
If you are a disc golfer or disc golf company reach out to a lawyer like DiscGolf.Law before you sign that next contract. You want to make sure that you cross all your t’s and dot you lower case j’s.
In the end, neither Joe’s Disc Golf nor DiscGolf.Law wants GK Pro, Eagles Crossing, or Mason Productions to go out of business. Speaking for Joe’s Disc Golf, I want this to be used as a learning opportunity. From the outside, it appears that Mason Productions over promised and under delivered. GK Pro dipped their toe into the live production scene, and it didn’t go well like the Jomez live audience earlier this year. Eagles Crossing showed that throwing money at an event doesn’t guarantee that it will run smoothly. We can appreciate the product that Disc Golf Network provides at the Elite Series and Major events. While they still have room to grow, Big Money Skins has shown how far Disc Golf Network has come over the last few years.
I reached out to Mason Productions and GK Pro requesting information and clarification. At the time of publication, I have not received a response from either. If I do hear from either of the companies, I will publish their responses.