By: Max Hall
What The USAPL Pro Series Could Learn from Twitch Rival
The USAPL has recently launched their Pro Series in hopes of moving powerlifting to a professional level sport like the NBA, NFL and MLB, where their athletes have the possibility of making a living.
Like any professional league in it's infancy the USAPL has a long way to go to create a clear-cut professional product. For the sport to grow a high quality product NEEDS to become the reality.
After a bit of research here is what WE think the USAPL can learn from the Twitch Rivals Powerlifting Meet to improve the Pro Series.
One thing that Twitch Rivals does great is creating a stream that is high quality. Everything from camera quality, audio and all the technical aspects is always on point are drilled down to perfection.
Part of this may be due to the fact it is though Twitch Rivals which is run by streamers that make their livelihoods via live streaming gaming and workouts each day. They understand how to create good quality streams because they have a lot of experience. On top of this Rivals also usually have a clear ESPN like shot of the commentators that give a high-quality professional look to the meets.
Recently watching USAPL 2022 Nationals to be frank the live stream was not good. The commentary was great. The USAPL typically has experienced well educated on the sport commentators that provide excellent insight.
The judging for USAPL nationals and pro meets is typically also way better than Twitch Rivals. However, the one place that Twitch Rivals destroys the USAPL is live stream quality. 2022 Nationals was littered with issues. The live stream video quality was awful, the stream mis-timed ads and even cut off some lifters lifts from being shown because the ads were still running. The graphics and over lay looked a little cheesy and the graphics cut off the lifters preventing viewers from seeing the live stream properly. It would really benefit the USAPL to contract someone with more experience to create a better, smoother live stream.
A quality live stream that is presented like a professional sport will go a long way in growing the sport. If the Pro series is to be taken serious of growing the sport into a legit pro sport we must present a clean professional image to viewers. Twitch Rivals does a great job of this and taking a page from their book will go a long way to increasing the viewership of the sport.
Another thing Twitch Rivals does a great job of is bringing in big name sponsors. I love the powerlifting brands that are currently active in sponsoring meets. These brands have done a lot and for the growth of the sport by sponsoring meets of all levels from local to pro. However big-name sponsors bring more eyes and reputability to the sport which helps those brands currently involved as well.
Twitch Rival’s has been able to get larger companies like Doritos and Dunken donuts to sponsor the Rivals meets.
Recently I spoke with Joe, leader of the AverageJoes stream team on the plus ultra fitness podcast. He was the original founder of hosting Twitch Power meets before Twitch Rivals took it over from him. Here is a list of the sponsors Joe bolstered for his first
In Joe’s words “all you got to do is ask.”
It's impressive for a singular guy running a power meet on Twitch. He isn’t a larger known entity like Twitch Rivals or the USAPL. With how fast the sport is growing I think we should see the money in the sport growing is as well to help increase the production quality as well as help the athletes.
Twitch Rivals uses a completely different formatting than the rest of powerlifting. In the Twitch Rivals Power meets there are no weight classes, and it is a two-team competition with each team trying to score more points than the other. In the Twitch Rivals meet they score the teams based on points for how each lifter performs. If you lift the most weight in squats in the meet you score 10 points for your team, second place scores 9 pints and so on. This may unfairly deters lighter weight liters. For example, if you were competing at Twitch Rivals and squatted 450lbs at 165lbs body weight and someone else on the other team squatted 460lbs at 250lbs body weight they would score more points than me.
Objectively speaking in a sport where mass moves mass we can say that doesn’t really seem fair. Which is why weight classes exist and moreover the best part of powerlifting in many people’s opinion, weight class battles.
A team format could be a great way to showcase weight class battles many members of the USAPL have come to love.
Instead of using Twitch Rivals as the base, you as model that uses elements of the current pro series. At USAPL nationals the top two lifters of each weight class get their 1-year pro card. After National take a 3-month break and then start a 3–4-month powerlifting season. Each week features matchups of head-to-head weight class battles in high production meets that focus on outlining story lines.
Each time a lifter wins a match up the score one point for their team. At the end of the season have a few weeks break where no one competes and then come together and have a final meet where all the battles take place for a round two in a massive mega meet grand finale. At the end of the meet tally up the season points of which team won more of the battles wins and takes home some type of bonus prizes of cash money and maybe some type of super bowl type ring or something along those lines. The reset and have new teams the next year based on who places top 2 at nationals.
To pick teams you take the two best lifters of Nationals, and you make them team captains and create a draft show for the lifters to pick teams. These lifters pick their lifter, and the other lifter of that weight class goes to the other team. They continue to pick till all the lifters are accounted for. This completely removes co-efficient scores from the pro series as well as you are not picking lifters based on their score, but you are picking the lifter you think will win more of the head-to-head battles of the 2-3 head-to-head battles each lifter will have in the season.
Additionally, you can use the number three and four finishers at Nationals to replace any lifters on either team that get hurt as the season goes on. You can pay the lifters based on each weight class battle they win in the season and additionally if you wanted to add to the viewership of the pro series you could even look at pairing up with a television company to put all the team lifters into a big brother style house where you outline the daily living, drama between lifters, and training of the lifters each week leading into these weekly weight class battles. This would be very similar to the UFC’s ultimate fighter TV series.
Obviously all of this is just me spit balling ideas, but these are things I think would really add to the general viewership of the sport and reaching the more mainstream audience. I love the sport of powerlifting however at the end of the day we must admit it’s a confusing sport. The coefficient scores are much less easy to understand for the general viewer than these guys weigh the same weight and the one that lifts more wins.
Let’s outline and market that element of the sport with high production value that makes it entertaining. Promo videos, great commentary, story lines we have these in powerlifting we just need to find a way to make it more viewer friendly and entertaining for the general population that knows nothing about powerlifting.