The new SANFL Digital Pass concept introduced for season 2017 is a brilliant idea and a good way forward for the SANFL. However having paid for a pass, the quality of the product does not match the price it costs. If you are paying for a product such as this one, it needs to be near perfect. More testing should have been done over the off-season to iron out the issues. Additionally, the idea feels like an afterthought, with only eight of the ten SANFL Clubs involved in 2017 and the fact that you can only watch one game a week on the pass. I spoke to the SANFL during the week about some of the concerns that have been raised.
One of the major issues has been the quality of the streaming and in particular the resolution. The SANFL Marketing Department have said that you can change the stream quality on a computer, but not on any other device such as a smart screen. The option to change stream quality is not immediately obvious on the computer however. I tried to watch a replay of a game last week, and simply could not watch it, given the poor quality of the stream. It certainly was not high definition, which is how the product is being plugged.
Another issue is that games are being filmed with minimum camera work, both in skill and personnel. I understand that the SANFL is not made of money at the present time, but if you are getting people to pay for streaming games, it has to be better than this. If something is happening from the other side of the ground, you almost have to squint to see the action. Surely an extra cameraman or two would help fix this issue.
It is also absolutely ridiculous that the Adelaide Football Club and Port Adelaide Football Club are not a part of this venture. They are SANFL Clubs and as such, should have been made to take part. Having only eight of ten teams available to watch every weekend is farcical.
“PAFC (Port Adelaide Football Club) and AFC (Adelaide Football Club) were offered the product but did not take up the offer. They are considering it for 2018,” the SANFL explained.
For someone you just generally likes to watch the SANFL action, the digital pass is not for you. As the pass is connected to club membership, there is no option to be able to watch every game of a round. At the present time, this particularly hurts Adelaide and Port Adelaide supporters who are either forced to buy a Digital Pass for another club or be forced not be able to use the product at all.
“The Digital Pass is tied to each club’s membership, and the SANFL club receives funds from the sales” according to the SANFL Marketing Department. That may be the case, but surely there is a better way than having to buy a Digital Pass for all eight SANFL clubs to view all games in a round every week.
On the flip side, the commentary is great, the extra exposure this gives the SANFL is good and it allows the competition to move into the modern world after lagging behind for some time.
The Digital Pass concept is absolutely fantastic and an important step in a few changes that the SANFL needs to make over the next few years. But if you are going to have a concept such as this, it needs to be utilised to its full potential. There is no point in doing things half-baked. The AFL App has its issues, but it is the basic model that the SANFL should be following. The quality of streaming should not be an issue, an extra cameraman might be the way to go and surely there should be an option to buy a pass that allows you to watch every game, every week, no matter who you support. Watch this space.
Have you used the Digital Pass in season 2017? What has been your experience? Tweet me @liamthompson.