RidePass 101

Two years ago PBR (Professional Bull Riders) announced a major investment for fans: the organization was going to increase fans’ access to premier series events, exciting Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour and marquee rodeos and other special events in and outside of PBR.

Change can be jarring to some, and several people have balked at the idea of the new RidePass digital network announcing RidePass and the increased access it offered to fans. This announcement was met with glee from many fans while others have fought rather vigorously against it.

While RidePass is far and away the best bang for a fan’s media buck, this post is to call out some of the complaints that surround RidePass overall and to shed some light on how the digital network works. It will also serve as a guide for fans on how to watch and troubleshoot problems.

Listen LIVE Version:

These broadcasts are used only when the round and championship round are being recorded live-to-tape or being aired on CBS or CBS Sports Network at the time. The view is used due to contractual obligations with CBS and CBS Sports Network, who have the exclusive North America rights to air the footage on their broadcasts before others. CBS pays a multi-million annual rights fee to PBR for their coverage, which is a major source of revenue for PBR that puts money in the pockets of bull riders and keeps the sport going.

 The Listen Live view is wider and not all the same angles that are used when RidePass has exclusive coverage. The upside of the wide-angle streams is that CBS Sports and CBS Sports Network are airing an increasing amount of PBR Unleash The Beast events than were aired in previous years.

While yes, the wide-angle views make it harder to see the fine details of each ride with this angle, the details can still be made out mostly on the stream it is not in as much detail as on the exclusive nights. The commentators and announcers try to paint as clear of a picture as they can for the viewers at home. The use of RidePass allows the fans to supplement the coverage of events that do not make air on CBS or CBS Sports Network. Some fans watch RidePass live and then re-watch the TV coverage.

If maintaining a cable television or satellite subscription is cost-prohibitive to some fans, the best bang for each dollar would be RidePass at $10/mo or $80/annual – at least for western sports and bull riding fans as it has hundreds of hours of rodeo, bull riding and western sports. This is the most economical choice for many people.

The price of a subscription to the digital network is one of the lowest across all of sports. This was done by design to make the streaming platform available to everyone, who wants to follow their favorite bull rider as they compete against the best bulls in the world. RidePass invests hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in content production, so, of course, they need to charge for the service to make it work.

How To Watch:

RidePass is available to be watched multiple ways, on the computer by logging-in to the website at RidePass.com, on a tablet through the mobile application or a cellphone utilizing the same application on the phone. RidePass is also available via AppleTV and Roku apps or subscribers can cast the broadcasts from RidePass on your computer or telephone using the Chromecast accessory. RidePass has also said that an Amazon Fire app is coming in the next few months.


When users have a problem connecting to RidePass, it’s almost always due to the user’s local internet connection rather than an issue with RidePass itself. Buffering and pixelation could be caused by the speed of the internet connection rather than it being the fault of RidePass itself. RidePass recommends a minimum download speed of 10MBps. Clearing browser history/temporary files may help improve the streaming being smoother and crisper.

How To Subscribe:

The process to subscribe to the digital network is rather easy and simple to do. Simply go to RidePass.com and follow the instructions on the website and hundreds of hours of western sports such as rodeo PBR events and RidePass original series. Or sign up directly through the apps on Roku, Itunes, or Goggle Play (Android). Just download the app and its easy.

The access to the library on RidePass easily makes it worth every cent. Beyond that great content fans also have access to live streaming of Unleash The Beast events and Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour, as the action occurs. One of the lowest price points across all of sports shows that PBR is not looking to gouge fans but rather making investments to expand access to a very exciting sport.

As our world is imperfect, that would apply to RidePass as well. Mistakes are remedied as they arise and should not be a reason to write-off RidePass. But, with each event that is broadcasted or added to the digital library.

Missed Or Rides Joined Late

There is a chance that during an event a rider may be getting interviewed while another rider is getting ready to nod, sometimes a ride is missed or the ride is joined in progress. This is not done on purpose. It is highly doubtful that the production crew starts a long 14-hour day looking down a list and marking off riders. Instead, this could be that the time allotted for an interview overruns, or a rider nods faster than expected. RidePass has responded to fan feedback about this and committed to showing every ride. They now frequently use a ‘picture-in-picture’ that allows the interview to continue while a ride is underway.

Also, even on the events that are being broadcasted on CBS or CBS Sports Network, not every out from the round may make the air as well. Consider the environment that the people are working in; there is not a set for how long it takes a rider to nod to open the gate. It is not to skip a ride, but trying to balance everything together and sometimes it does not always fully balance.

If a ride is entirely missed due to an interview or a sideline update, the replay will be aired shortly after or at the first available chance.

Hopefully, this helps clear up any of the concerns or complaints about RidePass. It’s important to note the network was never created or launched simply as a way to make money from the fans. It came to be as a way to give fans greater access than what was out there in the previous years. By any score, the added access, broadcast production values and shoulder programming adds a great value. While there is always room for improvement for any network, two years after its ambitious launch, PBR has delivered on the promise of RidePass. It will be great to see what happens for this great outstanding digital network on the way to the third anniversary.

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