This Saturday, Gotham Girls Roller Derby hosts a triple header event in Brooklyn that brings together some of the best women’s and men’s flat track roller derby teams in the nation on the same bill. The event is being broadcast live to the universe via an internet Pay Per View (PPV) stream, at the bargain price of $5.99. Those of you who follow our posts will know that here at RDIT we are very much in favor of this format of broadcasting live roller derby.
The event will begin at 2 PM Eastern with a men’s game between longtime rivals Harm City Homicide and the home team New York Shock Exchange (game preview). After that, there will be a match up between Gotham’s Wall Street Traitors and Suburbia’s Suburban Brawl (game preview), and the main event should begin around 6 PM with the West #3 Denver Mile High Club taking on the East #1 Gotham All Stars (game preview). Detailed info on the event and schedule, as well as links to the PPV site, can be found here.
Regarding the “business analysis” of leagues distributing their own content via a PPV format, longtime referee Hambone of GGRD, who also does some marketing work for the league, had this to say:
Gotham isn’t sure that PPV is the wave of the future for derby, but this year we’re giving it a try for our higher-demand events. We would never try to PPV, say, a local Manhattan vs Brooklyn bout, but clearly there ought to be a ton of global interest in Gotham All-Stars vs Denver All-Stars, as well as interest in seeing the Shock Exchange and Gotham women on the same bill. That interest helps us justify more investment in the product quality.
With this broadcast, our main goal is to cover bandwidth expenses and some miscellaneous equipment costs, and anything above that will just be gravy to offset past equipment expenses.
PPV is a bit intimidating to set up, so I don’t know that it’s the right path for EVERY league out there, but having established a reputation for a consistent high-quality local league video product (thanks to a couple of years of free broadcasts distributed by DNN), I think Gotham (along with a handful of other leagues) is in a position to occasionally distribute independently, via pay-per-view, with some good product quality credibility.
I remember being frustrated years ago trying to buy PPV subscriptions to Roy Wilkins bouts (Minnesota Rollergirls) and the quality/reliability just weren’t there at the time. It’s taken us a lot of learning and observing and collaborating with other leagues to get to a product quality level where we feel like $5.99 is a bargain. Having “derby people” touching the broadcast every inch of the way from setup to camera work to switching to announcing to the stats package (Rinxter) really makes a huge difference, rather than just sticking a camera in the corner of a building and pumping it out blindly.
The first time we did PPV (Gotham hosting Steel City on April 30th), it was a good success but we did get a couple of emails from people who blamed us for the fact that their own local home internet was failing (when over 98% of the subscribers have no problem, clearly the other 2% have their own local issues.) So that’s kind of a risk we take with this – being held implicitly responsible for technical issues entirely out of our control. But the first time we did it we also got a lot of feedback from subscribers saying it was the best broadcast they’d ever seen or heard, and they’d gladly pay again for similar broadcasts. So there’s definitely something there.
It’s taken us a lot of learning and observing and collaborating with other leagues to get to a product quality level where we feel like $5.99 is a bargain- Hambone, GGRD
We are glad to see Gotham continuing to experiment with releasing their streaming content via PPV, and we encourage all leagues that might host high-profile games or events to explore the possibility of doing it this way. It certainly embodies the “DIY” spirit that characterizes the sport of roller derby better than any alternative form of live game broadcast that is currently available.