2023 Fandom Survey: How Fans Feel about Media and Commentators


How
do
disc
golf
fans
consume
the
sport,
and
who
are
their
favorite
commentators?

DGN
broadcasters
Terry
Miller,
Nate
Sexton,
and
Nate
Doss
in
the
booth
covering
the
2023
Pro
Tour
Championships

This
article
is
part
of
a
series
that
will
be
released
throughout
the
offseason
based
on
the
2023
Ultiworld
Disc
Golf
/
StatMando
Fandom
Survey.
If
you
wish
to
learn
more
about
the
survey
and
the
demographics
of
the
survey
respondents,
please
read

this
accompanying
article
.

The
disc
golf
media
landscape
has
completely
changed
over
the
past
decade.
Ten
years
ago,
you
would
have
been
hard-pressed
to
find
coverage
of
even
the
most
important
events
in
the
sport.
Now
we
can
watch
post-produced
coverage
from
events
worldwide
on
YouTube
and
high-quality
live
coverage
of
events
in
the
US
and
Europe.
This
article
will
focus
on
the
data
we
gathered
on
the
media,
as
well
as
ancillary
questions
about
how
closely
individuals
follow
the
sport
and
opinions
on
central
institutions.

If
you
are
an
on-air
talent
in
disc
golf,
your
work
has
certainly
been
criticized
online.
Are
these
just
the
loudest
voices
or
is
there
a
wider
sentiment
that
some
commentators
are
better
than
others?
We
attempted
to
answer
that
question
using
numbers
instead
of
vitriol
to
get
a
pulse
of
how
the
disc
golf
community
feels
about
the
work
of
the
people
in
the
booth.

The
chart
below
shows
which
commentators
the
Disc
Golf
Network
(DGN)
used
in
2023
on
their
live
broadcasts:


DGN
Commentator
Appearances
in
2023

  • As
    is
    standard
    in
    many
    sports,
    DGN
    assigns
    one
    commentator
    to
    handle
    “Play-by-Play”
    (PxP),
    essentially
    narrating
    what
    is
    happening
    at
    the
    event.
    They
    also
    assign
    one
    or
    two
    additional
    commentators
    to
    provide
    “Color
    Commentary.”
    The
    color
    commentator
    provides
    expert
    analysis,
    background
    information,
    and
    occasionally
    anecdotes
    or
    light
    humor.
    Like
    most
    sports,
    disc
    golf
    uses
    current
    or
    former
    professional
    athletes
    for
    color
    commentary.
  • Terry
    Miller
    and
    Ian
    Anderson
    were
    the
    main
    PxP
    commentators
    for
    DGN
    this
    year,
    with
    18
    appearances
    each.
    DGN
    typically
    assigns
    a
    commentator
    to
    cover
    both
    the
    MPO
    and
    FPO
    rounds
    at
    an
    event.
    Ultiworld
    owner
    and
    editor
    Charlie
    Eisenhood
    did
    PxP
    for
    fewer
    events
    overall
    but
    handled
    all
    the
    FPO
    Majors
    (including
    quasi-Major
    Throw
    Pink)
    other
    than
    the
    US
    Women’s
    Championship.
    PDGA’s
    Brand
    Manager,
    Grant
    Zellner,
    was
    assigned
    to
    a
    few
    Silver
    Events
    as
    well.
  • Brian
    Earhart
    was
    DGN’s
    Swiss
    army
    knife,
    versatile
    enough
    to
    be
    assigned
    PxP
    at
    some
    events
    and
    Color
    at
    others.
    His
    work
    in
    the
    booth
    was
    primarily
    at
    Silver
    Events.
    He
    also
    worked
    as
    an
    on-course
    reporter,
    ran
    press
    conferences,
    and
    often
    co-hosted
    Tournament
    Central,
    DGN’s
    pre-event
    show.
  • Zoe
    AnDyke
    had
    the
    most
    appearances
    as
    color
    commentator
    for
    the
    FPO
    division
    (16).
    Valerie
    Jenkins
    and
    Juliana
    Korver
    also
    provided
    color
    commentary
    for
    FPO.
  • Philo
    Brathwaite
    and
    Nate
    Doss
    were
    the
    primary
    color
    commentators
    for
    MPO,
    with
    occasional
    appearances
    from
    Nate
    Perkins
    and
    Nate
    Sexton.
    We
    did
    not
    include
    any
    commentators
    who
    were
    only
    in
    the
    booth
    for
    one
    event,
    such
    as
    Ken
    Climo
    at
    USDGC.
  • Sexton
    is
    also
    an
    MPO
    commentator
    for
    JomezPro,
    along
    with
    Jeremy
    Koling
    and
    Paul
    Ulibarri.
    Madison
    Walker
    and
    Erika
    Stinchcomb
    commentate
    for
    FPO.

We
asked
survey
participants
how
they
felt
about
the
commentating
work
of
16
DGN/JomezPro
commentators
on
a
10-point
scale,
where
a
score
of
0
was
considered
a
maximum
“dislike”
and
10
was
considered
a
maximum
“like.”
Respondents
were
instructed
to
ignore
how
they
felt
about
the
commentator
as
a
person.

On
the
chart
below,
we
have
both
raw
Commentator
Average
Fandom
Scores
and
“No-5”
Commentator
Average
Fandom
Scores.
The
raw
scores
are
the
average
of
the
scores
given
by
the
3,040
survey
respondents.
We
found
that
commentators
who
primarily
commentated
for
the
FPO
division
received
a
greater
percentage
of
5s
than
MPO
broadcasters.
We
believe
this
is
because
a
percentage
of
the
respondents
do
not
follow
FPO
closely
(more
on
that
below),
and
instead
of
skipping
this
question
as
instructed,
they
gave
the
FPO
commentators
a
neutral
score
of
5.
These
5s
put
FPO
commentators
at
a
disadvantage
when
trying
to
judge
overall
fan
sentiment
of
the
quality
of
their
work.
To
put
the
commentators
on
more
equal
footing,
the
“No-5”
Commentator
Average
Fandom
Scores
exclude
all
scores
of
5
from
each
commentator’s
average.


Average
Fandom
Scores
for
Each
Commentator
Featured
on
Survey

  • For
    brevity’s
    sake,
    we
    limited
    the
    commentators
    to
    just
    the
    broadcast
    teams
    of
    DGN
    and
    JomezPro,
    the
    two
    most
    watched
    media
    channels
    in
    the
    sport
    (JomezPro
    was
    acquired
    by
    DGN
    at
    the
    start
    of
    2023,
    before
    this
    survey
    was
    taken).
  • Sexton’s
    commentating
    received
    the
    highest
    Fandom
    Score.
    Sexton
    is
    the
    only
    commentator
    who
    is
    regularly
    in
    the
    booth
    for
    both
    DGN
    and
    JomezPro.
    When
    playing
    in
    an
    event,
    he
    can’t
    be
    in
    the
    booth
    for
    DGN
    but
    can
    provide
    commentary
    for
    the
    post-produced
    coverage
    produced
    by
    JomezPro,
    which
    explains
    why
    despite
    being
    the
    most
    liked
    by
    fans,
    Sexton
    covered
    the
    least
    events
    of
    any
    “regular”
    DGN
    commentator.
  • The
    five
    JomezPro
    commentators
    (Sexton,
    Koling,
    Ulibarri,
    Walker,
    and
    Stinchcomb)
    all
    ended
    up
    near
    the
    top
    of
    the
    “No-5”
    Commentator
    Average
    Fandom
    Scores.
    Why
    is
    this
    the
    case?
    Factors
    that
    contribute
    to
    this
    likely
    include:

    • All
      the
      JomezPro
      broadcasters
      are
      active
      touring
      professionals.
      A
      player
      can’t
      commentate
      on
      live
      coverage
      if
      they’re
      playing,
      so
      all
      the
      DGN
      commentators
      (other
      than
      Sexton)
      are
      either
      retired
      players
      or
      were
      never
      professionals.
      Perhaps
      respondents
      are
      scoring
      JomezPro
      commentators
      higher
      because
      they
      also
      see
      them
      play
      disc
      golf,
      which
      engenders
      respect
      and
      connection.
    • About
      a
      third
      of
      the
      respondents
      identified
      that
      they
      are
      not
      DGN
      subscribers
      (more
      on
      that
      below).
      JomezPro
      is
      free,
      so
      the
      scores
      of
      DGN
      commentators
      might
      suffer
      from
      a
      lack
      of
      exposure
      to
      a
      third
      of
      the
      respondents.
    • Post-produced
      commentating
      is
      very
      different
      from
      live.
      Generally,
      post-produced
      commentators
      cover
      a
      single
      card,
      whereas
      during
      live
      broadcasts,
      commentators
      must
      call
      several
      cards
      at
      once
      with
      the
      help
      of
      a
      production
      team
      and
      without
      the
      ability
      to
      edit
      mistakes.
      There
      is
      often
      a
      steadier
      beat
      to
      the
      commentating
      during
      post-produced
      coverage,
      whereas
      live
      can
      be
      rapid
      at
      times,
      and
      at
      other
      times,
      slow
      to
      the
      point
      of
      just
      killing
      time
      (e.g.,
      weather
      delays).
      Post-produced
      commentating
      is,
      in
      these
      ways,
      an
      easier
      lift.
    • Of
      course,
      JomezPro
      may
      have
      done
      a
      better
      job
      attracting
      funny,
      charismatic
      commentators.
      Ultimately,
      they
      have
      more
      options
      as
      they
      can
      recruit
      active
      players
      while
      DGN
      cannot.
  • Earhart
    managed
    to
    be
    the
    second
    most-liked
    commentator
    despite
    no
    longer
    being
    an
    active
    touring
    player
    and,
    for
    the
    most
    part,
    only
    commentating
    on
    DGN
    Silver
    events.
  • Doss
    was
    the
    least-liked
    commentator,
    with
    an
    average
    score
    of
    4.99,
    just
    a
    hair
    below
    a
    neutral
    5.
    He
    had
    a
    roughly
    equal
    number
    of
    respondents
    who
    disliked
    him
    compared
    to
    those
    who
    liked
    him.
    Doss
    has
    been
    with
    DGN
    from
    the
    start,
    famously
    broadcasting
    in
    front
    of
    a
    bed
    sheet
    with
    his
    wife,
    Valerie
    Jenkins.
    Jenkins
    had
    the
    second-lowest
    Fandom
    Score
    for
    an
    FPO
    commentator.
  • Although
    receiving
    the
    most
    commentating
    assignments
    of
    anyone
    covering
    FPO
    events,
    AnDyke
    had
    the
    lowest
    Fandom
    Score
    for
    FPO
    commentators.
  • If
    you
    mouse
    over
    (or
    on
    mobile,
    touch)
    any
    of
    these
    bars,
    you
    can
    see
    the
    sample
    size
    of
    survey
    respondents
    for
    each
    commentator.
    There
    are
    a
    few
    hundred
    people
    who
    followed
    the
    instructions
    not
    to
    rate
    commentators
    they
    were
    unfamiliar
    with,
    which
    accounts
    for
    the
    difference
    in
    sample
    sizes
    between
    commentators.


2023
Percentage
Commentator
Fandom
Score
Distribution

  • FPO
    commentators
    received
    a
    higher
    percentage
    of
    5s
    than
    MPO
    commentators,
    which
    is
    why
    we
    are
    showing
    a
    “No-5”
    version
    of
    the
    average
    Fandom
    Score.
  • Over
    50%
    of
    respondents
    gave
    Sexton
    a
    10.
    Earhart
    was
    second
    with
    nearly
    30%
    of
    respondents
    giving
    him
    a
    10.
  • Over
    50%
    of
    respondents
    gave
    Zellner
    a
    5,
    likely
    signaling
    they
    are
    not
    familiar
    with
    him

    fewer
    people
    watch
    Silver
    Events.
  • Koling
    and
    Ulibarri
    had
    strikingly
    similar
    distributions.


Number
of
Survey
Participants
that
Started
Following
Pro
Disc
Golf
per
Year

  • We
    included
    this
    same
    question
    in
    the

    2022
    survey
    ,
    and
    our
    analysis
    remains
    the
    same:
    “This
    is
    what
    one
    would
    expect
    to
    see

    a
    graph
    that
    captures
    the
    strong
    year-to-year
    growth
    starting
    around
    2015
    catalyzed
    by
    YouTube
    and
    the
    emergence
    of
    the
    professional
    tour,
    followed
    by
    explosive
    growth
    during
    the
    pandemic,
    and
    then
    a
    decline
    toward
    pre-pandemic
    levels.”
  • The
    number
    of
    respondents
    who
    started
    following
    disc
    golf
    in
    2023
    is
    disturbingly
    small
    at
    first
    glance.
    However,
    the
    same
    pattern
    emerged
    last
    year
    and
    we
    suggested,
    “There
    is
    a
    good
    chance
    that
    the
    2022
    numbers
    are
    not
    representative
    of
    the
    relative
    following
    of
    professional
    disc
    golf
    as
    the
    survey
    was
    administered
    three-quarters
    of
    the
    way
    through
    the
    year,
    and
    many
    fans
    who
    found
    disc
    golf
    in
    2022
    may
    not
    yet
    follow
    the
    outlets
    we
    used
    to
    promote
    the
    survey,
    such
    as
    Ultiworld
    Disc
    Golf
    and
    StatMando.”
  • Sure
    enough,
    we
    can
    see
    plenty
    of
    fans
    started
    following
    disc
    golf
    in
    2022,
    and
    we
    expect
    to
    see
    a
    similar
    pattern
    next
    year.


Do
you
prefer
watching
live
or
post
produced
disc
golf?

  • In

    last
    year’s
    survey

    we
    speculated
    that
    preference
    for
    live
    disc
    golf
    likely
    passed
    the
    preference
    for
    post-produced
    coverage
    either
    in
    2021
    or
    2022.
    As
    was
    the
    case
    last
    year,
    55%
    of
    respondents
    either
    outright
    prefer
    live
    coverage
    or
    lean
    toward
    live.
    However,
    there
    was
    a
    shift
    of
    participants
    from
    leaning
    live
    to
    outright
    preferring
    live.
  • We
    included
    two
    new
    middle-ground
    answers
    this
    year:
    “I
    like
    both
    and
    don’t
    lean
    either
    way”
    and
    “Post
    for
    early
    rounds,
    live
    for
    last
    round.”
    13%
    of
    respondents
    chose
    one
    of
    those
    options.
    The
    numbers
    declined
    for
    leaning
    post-produced
    and
    outright
    preferring
    post-produced.
  • Overall,
    it
    seems
    fans
    are
    moving
    toward
    live
    coverage,
    but
    it
    isn’t
    a
    rush
    out
    the
    door.
    DGN
    recently
    announced
    they
    have
    left
    the
    much-derided
    Vimeo
    platform
    and
    will
    once
    again
    give
    viewers
    the
    option
    to
    pause
    and
    rewind
    live
    coverage.
    Fixing
    these
    glaring
    weaknesses
    with
    DGN
    could
    accelerate
    fans
    moving
    toward
    live
    coverage.
  • As
    we
    wrote
    last
    year,
    “If
    we
    were
    to
    look
    beyond
    the
    sample
    size
    of
    our
    survey
    at
    the
    broader
    community
    of
    disc
    golf
    fans,
    would
    live
    still
    be
    preferred?
    Based
    on
    views,
    perhaps
    not.
    Our
    survey
    was
    more
    likely
    to
    be
    seen
    and
    filled
    out
    by
    the
    most
    ardent
    disc
    golf
    fans,
    who
    are
    also
    the
    same
    people
    likely
    willing
    to
    pay
    for
    a
    DGN
    subscription
    and
    make
    the
    time
    to
    watch
    live
    coverage.”


Do
you
subscribe
to
DGN?

  • Over
    half
    of
    our
    respondents
    subscribe
    to
    DGN
    year-round
    and
    another
    14.4%
    subscribe
    for
    part
    of
    the
    year.
    I
    suspect
    those
    numbers
    are
    a
    bit
    muddled
    as
    someone
    who
    subscribes
    for
    nine
    months
    and
    pauses
    during
    the
    off-season
    might
    give
    either
    answer,
    but
    either
    way,
    it
    means
    about
    two-thirds
    of
    respondents
    are
    DGN
    subscribers.
  • The
    remaining
    third
    of
    respondents
    do
    not
    subscribe
    to
    DGN
    and
    either
    consume
    DGN
    content
    when
    freely
    available
    on
    YouTube,
    or
    not
    at
    all.


What
do
you
think
of
the
DGPT
and
PDGA?

  • The
    DGPT
    and
    the
    PDGA
    are
    the
    two
    organizations
    that
    control
    professional
    disc
    golf
    through
    the
    Elite
    series
    and
    Major
    series,
    respectively.
    Based
    on
    the
    results
    of
    our
    survey,
    for
    the
    second
    year
    in
    a
    row,
    the
    DGPT
    is
    the
    more
    popular
    organization.
    On
    average,
    respondents
    rated
    the
    DGPT
    an
    8.00
    and
    the
    PDGA
    a
    6.40
    on
    our
    0
    to
    10
    favorability
    scale.
  • Both
    the
    DGPT
    and
    PDGA
    substantially
    increased
    in
    popularity
    this
    year;
    respondents
    giving
    the
    DGPT
    a
    score
    of
    10
    increased
    from
    14%
    to
    23%,
    and
    for
    the
    PDGA
    the
    increase
    was
    from
    3%
    to
    7%.
  • Last
    year
    we
    wrote:
    “It
    would
    be
    interesting
    to
    see
    how
    the
    respondents’
    opinions
    of
    these
    organizations
    will
    have
    changed
    after
    the
    polarizing
    decision
    earlier
    this
    month
    to
    effectively
    ban
    transgender
    women
    from
    the
    FPO
    division.
    However,
    our
    survey
    collecting
    period
    took
    place
    months
    before
    the
    PDGA/DGPT
    decision
    was
    announced.”
  • This
    year
    we
    started
    collecting
    survey
    responses
    on
    August
    17,
    about
    three
    weeks
    after
    the
    United
    Tour
    was
    announced
    (July
    25).
    If
    this
    poll
    was
    taken
    earlier
    when
    the
    issue
    of
    whether
    transgender
    athletes
    could
    play
    in
    the
    FPO
    division
    was
    in
    the
    news,
    I
    suspect
    these
    scores
    would
    have
    been
    lower.
    By
    the
    time
    our
    survey
    came
    out,
    the
    DGPT
    had
    reached
    a
    temporary
    détente
    with
    Natalie
    Ryan.


How
closely
do
you
follow
MPO
and
FPO

  • As
    was
    the
    case
    last
    year,
    this
    year’s
    respondents
    followed
    MPO
    more
    closely
    than
    FPO;
    81.3%
    of
    respondents
    indicated
    they
    follow
    MPO
    disc
    golf
    very
    closely,
    giving
    scores
    of
    8-10,
    while
    only
    46.1%
    of
    the
    respondents
    indicated
    they
    follow
    FPO
    very
    closely.
  • For
    reference,
    in
    2022,
    83.9%
    of
    respondents
    followed
    MPO
    very
    closely
    and
    43.2%
    followed
    FPO
    very
    closely.
    This
    suggests
    there
    was
    a
    slight
    decrease
    in
    how
    closely
    our
    respondents
    follow
    MPO
    and
    a
    slight
    increase
    in
    how
    closely
    they
    follow
    FPO.
  • If
    you
    want
    a
    breakdown
    of
    how
    male
    respondents
    compare
    to
    female
    respondents
    on
    this
    question
    and
    more,
    please
    read
    our
    2022
    article:

    How
    Gender
    Affects
    Who
    We
    Root
    For


Are
you
following
disc
golf
more
closely
or
less
closely
in
2023
compared
to
2022?

  • 49.2%
    of
    respondents
    indicated
    they
    are
    following
    disc
    golf
    more
    closely
    in
    2023
    compared
    to
    2022
    while
    33.7%
    of
    respondents
    are
    following
    disc
    golf
    roughly
    the
    same
    as
    they
    did
    in
    2022.
  • 17.1%
    of
    respondents
    are
    following
    disc
    golf
    less
    closely.
  • This
    question
    is
    certainly
    skewed
    because
    the
    less
    you
    follow
    disc
    golf,
    the
    less
    likely
    you
    are
    to
    know
    about
    the
    survey
    and
    fill
    it
    out.
    This
    will,
    however,
    be
    a
    good
    data
    point
    for
    the
    long-term
    study
    of
    fandom.

Thank
you
for
reading
this
lengthy
piece.
My
thanks
to
Karl
Lamothe
and
Josiah
Zoodsma
for
their
assistance
in
editing
this
piece
as
well
as
the
rest
of
the
StatMando
team
with
data
analysis
and
preparation.
Once
again,
if
you
wish
to
be
notified
when
next
year’s
survey
is
ready
or
want
to
be
emailed
when
survey
results
are
released,
please

enter
your
email
address
here
.
If
you
are
interested
in
being
involved
in
the
survey
and
have
experience
in
polling
or
a
profession
related
to
studying
surveys,
please
get
in
touch
with
us
at


[email protected]
.

Please
see
the
full
series
of
2023
articles
by
following
these
links:

Links
for
the
2022
Fandom
Series
articles
can
be
found

here
.


  1. Jesse
    Weisz

    Jesse
    Weisz
    is
    a
    freelance
    disc
    golf
    writer
    and
    conductor
    of
    the
    Fandom
    Survey.
    His
    hobbies
    include
    sustaining
    injuries
    through
    ultimate
    and
    disc
    golf.
    He
    also
    runs
    a
    non-profit
    that
    helps
    teachers
    travel
    at

    geeo.org
    .
    You
    can
    reach
    him
    at

    [email protected]
    .

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,

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,

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,

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