November 18, 2013
With the 2013 WFTDA tournament season carefully recorded in the history books, I'd like to take a moment to thank you, our fans, for being so passionate and dedicated to the sport of women's flat track roller derby. Your feedback and support is essential to keeping the broadcast program alive in WFTDA, and for helping us find ways to make fan viewing experiences better and better.
This year, our home viewers turned out in record numbers. While this is great news, it was also fairly surprising because it meant that our community and our audience are growing even faster than we had anticipated. In 2011, we saw a season total of 98,000 unique website visitors watching the broadcast. The following year (when we moved to pay-per-view), our viewership dropped slightly, and this year we’ve seen rapid expansion to 116,000 viewers for the season, with more concurrent viewers than ever before. Our technology and infrastructure were simply not scaled to accommodate this awesome growth in our audience. We recognize this, and acknowledge that we need to look for solutions that accommodate our exciting expansion moving forward.
Specifically, during the first day of 2013 Championships, our server host realized fairly quickly that we needed to upgrade to a dedicated system. In short, we needed a bigger boat. Our need for expanded server capacity, in combination with some encoder hardware issues, resulted in coverage disruptions for many in our viewing audience. Our superb team of tech volunteers got to work quickly with our server host to try and resolve the problems--and in my mind, resolving issues quickly is always the top priority. Coverage disruptions are unacceptable for all of us but, if they do happen, returning you to your game is the number one goal. On behalf of the WFTDA, I apologize for the issues and I thank all of you for your patience. I want you to know we’re working hard to eliminate these issues in the future.
Many of you have asked what the WFTDA can do to improve things for next year. As the Head of Broadcast Operations, my knee-jerk reaction is "Whatever it takes!" But the longer, more thoughtful answer includes better technology, more powerful infrastructure, even more planning, added resources, and an even deeper understanding of what our fans want in WFTDA.tv. That is no easy task, and we've already learned a lot in a 2013 season that saw the WFTDA add two Division 2 tournaments, expand our Rinxter stats presentation, strengthen our relationship with the Association of Flat Track Derby Announcers, and increase year-round local coverage through WFTDA.tv Presents.
To help us with our 2014 planning, we would appreciate you taking a few minutes of your time to complete a survey about how you watch WFTDA.tv.
We've come really far in just a short time, and success is never created in a vacuum. I'd like to thank all of the hard-working members of our team who continue to make our growth possible--a team of brilliant and talented people, committed to making WFTDA.tv the highest level of broadcast that roller derby has to offer. It's my feeling that the broadcasts assembled during the 2013 Championships are the finest bouts we've ever produced--from the high level of game play and officiating, to camera work, to instant replay, to announcing. This is the largest team effort we've ever seen. And I remain in awe of the synergy.
The WFTDA has created WFTDA.tv as its own online broadcast network, built by the skater, for the skater--and always highlighting the real, strong, athletic and revolutionary women who endeavor to make roller derby a sport to be reckoned with around the globe. It's my promise that I will continue to honor that mission and find every resource available to help make this sport shine.
Again, thanks to all of you for challenging WFTDA.tv to always find better solutions and offer better coverage. The WFTDA is lucky to have fans like you, and this is never lost on us. Have a restful, healthy and happy holiday season!
WFTDA Director of Broadcast Operations
Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary.