I’ve been thinking about the event as a whole since Saturday and talking with lots of people, and it is time to put pen to paper. First, I want to thank everyone who contributed in making the event a success- the college players who spent their free time to come to Atlanta, the Hustle people for wanting to do this kind of thing, the tech guys for being willing to do a live stream, Spin for getting us some good swag, and countless others that I have forgotten. To the fans, thank you for coming to the game and being rowdy. Thank you for watching us online and giving us great feedback via twitter. You’ve shown us that there is a market for this kind of event, and we hope to be able to deliver more in the future.
Both Hardman and I were excited to try out commentating for the first time, and we both felt a little nervous going into the game. I went back and watched the game, and the first quarter was a little rough from our end. It is tough to find a balance of giving the viewer enough and too much information. I think we sounded the best in the 2nd/3rd/4th quarters after we had run out of pre-thought out jokes, and just talked about the game when we had something decent to say. It was interesting to see how we developed our commentary handoffs from one to the other over the course of the game- we talked over each other a lot at the beginning, and then seemed more smooth towards the end.
I’ve always been critical of professional commentators on the major sports networks who can’t keep players’ names straight during the games, but I think I have a new appreciation for how tough it is. I will give both us some slack since we were working with a Hustle squad with mismatched uniforms and a BSS squad that had multiple of the same numbers. We were offered some binoculars in the press box before the game started, and I didn’t think we would need them since we knew almost all the guys playing. I was wrong. When everyone has similar builds and wears hats, it is really hard to differentiate from 30 rows up.
Given how everything went, I would definitely like to try my hand at commentary again. There are lots of things I would fix- have better notes ready for the game, have rosters and stat sheets printed out instead of on a laptop, binoculars, limit usage of the adjectives “little” and “nice” when describing throws, and have a monitor so we can see what the stream looks like. We didn’t know the public couldn’t see the time until someone told us in the second quarter.
Streaming ultimate is hard even when you have a good internet setup. With all the different pieces of equipment involved, you never know what is going to go wrong. Before the game, we tried to fix the issue of the commentary only coming through one speaker, but we couldn’t based on how the audio was being routed. When the stream went down, our internet connection via ethernet was still working just fine. For some reason, though, we could no longer connect to the youtube server hosting the stream. We suspect it had something to do with the internet being on a school network, and pushing large amounts of data across it for multiple hours. We got everything back up on some public wifi, but the connection was so up and down we have no clue what people were actually seeing at home.
If you are looking to get into the streaming game, OBS is a must (https://obsproject.com/). It allowed us to fairly easily overlay a scoreboard and sponsor graphic. There are other products out there that can do this, but OBS is free!
We asked our players for feedback on the event, and the guys that aren’t graduating unanimously said they would come back next year if asked. There was some discussion by the players about how we could expand the event to include other SE teams, but I’m honestly not sure it makes sense. Of the 3 teams in our footprint (Nashville, Jacksonville, ATL), Atlanta is pretty much a perfect storm of factors that led to success-
- Large youth scene that will attend a college all star game
- Large local ultimate scene
- Good stadium setup/location
- Short-Mid Range drive for most of the region
I would be interested in seeing how this could possibly work in Nashville or Jacksonville, but I can’t get the thought out of my head that maybe Atlanta just has the best setup for this. If we tried to play a game in each city across multiple weekends, the college players would have to commit a lot more time/energy/money to travel, and potentially miss a college tournament. We hit a sweet spot of schools on spring break, and between the Stanford/Tally and Easterns weekends. There are very few weekends in the spring that all the best players are going to be available. If we had only been able to draw in 50% of the perceived best SE talent and the game wasn’t nearly as competitive or interesting, I think we would have a very different outlook for next year.
I’ve had a few people ask about a women’s version of this event, and we touched on it a bit when we interviewed Hannah during the game. I would love to be able to partner with a group to put together a SE women’s college all star team, but we are going to have to find that partner first. The Hustle were the ones who approached us with the idea, and without them, we probably wouldn’t have tried something like it. We just don’t have the manpower or contacts to run events on this scale without partners.
Leave us a comment and let us know what you thought of the event, and what we should change in the future.