Thursday, February 20, 2014

2.20.2014: Major League Soccer's Preseason Streaming Is An Embarrassment

Nice Sightline in That Pic, Glad that Wil Trapp's Grandmother allowed MLS to borrow her Sony Camcorder

Would It Kill MLS To Get a Preseason Stream Right?

I would stop bringing it up if it wasn't a problem. But, the people Major League Soccer has hired in video production cannot figure out how to live stream.

The Malmo game I could only watch about 60 minutes, this one 37 minutes. Why? This is supposed to be a professional league right? And, the specs at these facilities should be top notch (high speed internet, decent press box, decent to great conditions).

And, I get perhaps if it was outside, and there were torrential rain storms, and you're trying to protect the league's (or your production companies) equipment. So, you went offline until conditions improved. But, that wasn't the case and I have still streamed in those conditions with limited problems all the way through (;

Instead, it's sunny out and Disney should have a pretty good upload speed. So, what would throw the stream offline?

Nothing should, other than terrible equipment, or someone running it that doesn't know how to keep the stream up on that equipment. I have produced several soccer games (some turned out well, some could've been a lot better), some in great conditions like PPL Park or UC Santa Barbara, and some in crap conditions with about 8 feet of space for like three monitors, a camera, and four people. But, I never had an issue with keeping a stream up with decent equipment in decent weather.

Maybe it's the facility? Well, I would consider Disney Challenge to have if not great, at least a good facility to stream from. With Disney money and what they try to bring in to play at their facility, they have to be running at top notch speeds. So, I can't figure out a reason why the stream would temporarily be unavailable multiple times except if the equipment is outdated by five years, or the producer has no idea what there doing.

You would almost have to be trying to mess up the stream in today's conditions. I have streamed a full game live from a D3 school with better success from a Verizon Jet Pack. With a hot spot speed of 6 mbps (almost too slow) and MLS can't pull it off with a 75 mbps upload (really fast)?

And, it's so easy to live stream anything to YouTube (you could teach a computer illiterate how to stream in a few hours, someone that's tech savvy in twenty minutes). The only thing that should make it impossible to stream is if it's something on YouTube's end, such as their live streaming capability being down (that's happened once to me due to YouTube making improvements to their system and that sucks because there's nothing you can do). That wasn't what happened here.

But, even if the streaming was working, the production level is so low.

The Disney Classic cameras are what a dad would use to film his son's soccer games (see above pic). At times there is no audio. There is no B Roll, no interviews, no look at the commentators.

Why not take a few HD cameras down there and a few inspired people, for cheap, trust me there are a few of them in the business- I would like to think of myself as one-, and there's a ton I've run into across the U.S. in video production that focus on sporting events in general and soccer in particular. And have those people try to get a uniformed preseason broadcast that might bring in some sponsors for MLS?

Or throw down a little cash and give all the preseason games to a mid-level production company. Anything compared to the current "oh well, who cares, it's preseason."

Because whoever produces or is in charge of these live streams obviously doesn't give a shit. I've made dumb mistakes in my broadcasts, but I've always tried to make them better next time. But, for MLS, every year it's the same, "hey Orlando kid walking down the street, do you film for the high school year book? Want to film a Major League Soccer game at Disneyland!"

I wouldn't usually go to a Toronto F.C. fan, but this one hit the nail on the head (Loconet on Red Patch Boys Forum):
It's the year 2014. We are on the cusp of having self driving cars, we have eye wear that act as powerful computers connected to the internet, we watched a robot land on mars in almost real-time (speed of communication with a remote planet limited).

... but yet MLS/teams cannot sort out a simple video feed from Florida.

The destruction of the league will not be spending or over spending in players. It will be their goddamn potatoes for cameras and zucchinis for modems in pre-seasons.
Believe it or not MLS, the preseason is important. It's where a championship season begins, it's where fans can start formulating opinions on the offseason moves that were made. MLS fans, as well as people all over the world want to view it. But, they can't in 2014.

Or well any year.

It's amateur and MLS needs to fix it.


  1. Great post, Ryan. Union fan here, by the way. I posted a comment on the MLS preseason page complaining about the fact that not only were the Union matches from the Disney tourney not being streamed, but they weren't even listed on the page. The club has three new DPs, one being a returning US international, you'd think they'd want to put forth an effort to showcase that.

    It's the same BS every year. Last year they put more attention on their shiny new website (more hipster blog than professional sports league website) than preseason, because "it's just preseason." When asked why there was no decent video of the Union/DC preseason match last year, Jason Saghini tweeted something about streaming not being cheap, and putting the money "where it counted." Newsflash MLS digital: it ALL counts to the fans! And forget the fact that they failed to stream a cagey matchup between two rivals, the most laughable part of the whole thing is that there was no video footage of the alleged DeRo head-butt on Danny Cruz, which resulted in a 2-match suspension for DeRo. If for no other reason than THAT, the league must do a better job covering these games.

    Unfortunately, I don't see this changing any time soon. So while we fans pine for better coverage, the boys at will just continue churning out crap like endless articles on the "new" fantasy game, videos of random players answering trivia questions, and... sigh... the Brad Evans Show.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.