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Charlie Wi tees off at TPC Scottsdale's 16th hole during Round 2 of the Phoenix Open. Credit:

It should be no surprise that "spectacle" and "spectator" are derived from Latin, meaning "to look". Spectators want something interesting to watch and a spectacle can fulfill that need. Disc golf may not seem like a spectacle to many. But fireworks on the Fourth of July, or for that matter any time, would qualify as a spectacle that people love to watch. How about combining the two? (Warning: We're now moving into ideas that stray a little or a lot from our current game.)

Emotional Connection

One reason spectators watch events is that they have an emotional connection with the players and/or the team. Our players love disc golf, but they love playing much more than they love watching others play. So, how can we increase the emotional connection to compel more people to watch disc golf events? The most basic is to develop a connection to specific players and how they perform in events. 

The current number of spectators at most events and even online watchers (when live coverage is provided) is barely enough to appeal to many potential sponsors except those who already back our disc golf family because they sponsor players or provide gear for tournaments. Current widespread thinking appears to be that to get any spectators at all, access should be free. 

How about considering the opposite approach and actually charge a reasonable fee to watch the event? What do promoters have to lose at this point? The players are still going to enter. TDs can still let their volunteers and media people in free.

In this five-part series I'll suggest potential, perhaps radical, ways to get 50 to 1000 times more spectators than we have now. Without a quickly growing base of paying spectators, whether in person, live online, or post-production video, there will continue to be just enough money in the game for a small number of professionals to eek out a living from their winnings and sponsorships. This is true for any emerging sport, not just disc golf.