The USTRC and the World Series of Team Roping partner with RidePass for streaming world-class coverage of the Cinch National Finals of Team Roping and Ariat World Series of Team Roping Finale XIII. by Chelsea Shaffer
Change is coming to the way team ropers and fans watch the sport they know and love, just in time for the Cinch National Finals of Team Roping and the Ariat World Series of Team Roping Finale XIII.
Active Interest Media, the parent company of the United States Team Roping Championships and the World Series of Team Roping, signed a media rights representation agreement with Professional Bull Riders that will include livestreaming both year-end events this winter on RidePass, the group’s Western sports digital network.
The agreement will also leverage the expertise of PBR’s parent company, Endeavor, to grow team roping through expanded media coverage and storytelling. Endeavor, also owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, is a global leader in sports, entertainment, fashion, media, and events, operating in more than 30 countries. Endeavor and the PBR launched RidePass in February 2018, streaming nearly every PBR event globally, as well as Calgary Stampede, Days of ’47, World Championship Rodeo Alliance events, Rodeo All-Star, the NHSRA Junior High and High School Finals, original series, and more.
Team roping fans will be able to purchase an annual subscription to RidePass to watch every round of the Cinch NFTR and Ariat WSTR Finale XIII live or on-demand, as well as hundreds of hours of Western sports programming throughout the year. Both events will also be available at a pay-per-view rate.
“Our partnership with Endeavor/ RidePass creates an opportunity allowing true Western sports fans a single channel to watch all of the Western sports that they can’t watch now,” said Tom Winsor, senior VP of Business Development and Equine for AIM. “It will allow our flagship events to be broadcast effectively and professionally.”
PBR and Endeavor invested three years beta-testing the service with its bull riding content, PBR Senior Vice President Chad Blankenship said. “We learned about market demand,
fan expectations, and got better at high-quality production,” Blankenship said. “Our ambition is to elevate team roping by bringing fans more of its compelling stories via both streaming and TV, which will also contribute to new and bigger sponsorship deals—and bigger purses.”
RidePass is looking to add more World Series of Team Roping and USTRC events in 2019 and will offer a world-class production crew to provide ropers with a better viewing experience, Blankenship said.
This move came out of necessity for the World Series of Team Roping and USTRC, AIM Director of Roping Operations Denny Gentry said, to meet demand and keep providing the streaming service to members.
“Each Western sports organization only has a couple of events a year worth telecasting and with costs skyrocketing, the business necessity becomes questionable,” Gentry said. “However, a centralized service such as RidePass that presents a package for all disciplines can provide the content on a regular basis and hit other areas that cowboys and cowgirls will also be interested in, creating production efficiencies. (For the first time) year-round coverage and revenue sharing are a possibility.”
For years, the USTRC and World Series of Team Roping have eaten the cost of video technicians, bandwidth, editing, and multiple cameras, 12 hours per day, Gentry said. With technology costs on the rise, now is the time to partner with RidePass and gain access to their stateof-the-art production. Plus, RidePass will have the option to stream other World Series of Team Roping and USTRC events that have never been offered on a streaming platform before, Gentry said.
RidePass’ partnership with AIM’s team roping associations will go beyond livestreaming select events, Blankenship said. The larger partnership’s focus is to unleash the power of Endeavor to bring team roping content to new audiences and other platforms, such as Netflix—as they did with the acclaimed Fearless PBR docu-series which they co-produced—and television, much like when PBR produced The American, Calgary Stampede, and Days of ’47 for CBS Sports.
AIM will also partner with RidePass on a special series called American Cowboy TV, that will offer eight original episodes covering legends of the cowboy world, with in-depth interviews and historical footage.
“One of the things we’ve learned from 25 years of PBR live events and TV producing is the importance of storytelling,” Blankenship said. “As fans, we follow sports because we feel a connection to it, usually through the athletes. Our partnership with AIM is to tell those really compelling stories of the thousands and thousands of competitors, both human and equine.”
An annual subscription to RidePass works out to $6.99 per month, or $83.88 annually. It’s available at RidePass.com and via apps for iPhone, iPads, Android phones, tablets, and Chromecast. Prior to the Cinch NFTR, it will also come to Roku, Xbox, and PlayStation; and, by the end of the year, it will be available on AppleTV and Samsung TV.