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DNN's Tournament Season Coverage

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Roller Derby Tournament Season starts in earnest in just a few days, so we want to take a moment to fill you in on our coverage plans. We'd like to thank our 2011 Key Sponsors for sustaining us through the year to get us to this point: Atom Wheels, Fast Girl Skates, and the GRNMNSTR family of roller derby products.

As regular DNN users know, our efforts are viewer supported; while our sponsors and advertisers cover the overhead to keep us going from day to day, we count on voluntary contributions from you to get us out into the field to cover the big events. As we fill you in on our tournament plans, please consider making a financial contribution to keep us moving!

The WFTDA Big 5 Tournaments

Each year since 2007, DNN (and its forerunner, Leadjammer.com) has provided the only source of live coverage from the WFTDA Regional and Championship tournaments. This year will be a little different.

While past years' coverage was arranged informally, we've come to see the need to formalize these relationships in order to maintain clear communications and expectations. This year, at our urging, the WFTDA issued a formal broadcast RFP for coverage of the Region Playoffs and Championship Tournament.

We submitted what we believe was a very impressive proposal to deliver a live viewer experience at a quality unprecedented in modern derby. Moreover, our bid outlined our ability to keep this experience paywall-free, in keeping with the accessibility elements of our mission.

Despite our strong proposal and track record of delivering a lot with little resources, this year WFTDA has selected a competitor's bid. While we are disappointed that we won't be bringing you the Big 5 video broadcast this year, we hope for a good broadcast and viewer experience as WFTDA explores this new direction.

Of course, broadcast is only one element of DNN's journalistic efforts. Throughout The Big 5, you can still count on us to bring you headlines, action recaps, video features, final scores straight to your phone, and more. Continuing a new experiment this year, we're also gathering volunteers to provide more multiple-language textcasting, which we hope to provide in several languages for at least the final bouts of each event.

MRDA Championship Tournament

One of the big stories of modern roller derby in 2011 has been the flourishing growth of men's derby. As men's leagues have popped up in dozens of cities around the globe, the Men's Derby Coalition has evolved into the Men's Roller Derby Association, with membership growing at a rapid clip and competitive levels keeping pace.

This year's Spring Roll Tournament, carried live on DNN, featured an unprecedented gathering of competitive men's derby teams -- and drew a surprising number of eyeballs, far outstripping our audience projections. While men's derby has been perking in a few places for several years now, it's clear that this year it has fully arrived.

On October 22, MRDA will hold its first ever Championship Tournament, and DNN is proud to announce that we'll be there to bring you full live coverage from both tracks of the event.

World Cup

If you’ve read the internet this year, you’ve noticed an historic event in modern flat-track roller derby is on the horizon in December: the 2011 Blood & Thunder Roller Derby World Cup. The first event of its kind, this 4 day tournament will bring 13 leagues from around the globe together under the flags of their home countries to compete for a shot at greatness on a global stage.

As with MRDA Champs, DNN is proud to announce we'll bring you full live coverage, from both tracks, all four days of this unprecedented, historic event. Also like our MRDA experience, our World Cup coverage to date has drawn far more attention than we'd expected. We're bracing for a website-shuddering level of traffic for these broadcasts!

It's Your Turn

Between bringing the full DNN treatment to MRDA and World Cup, as well as our continued journalistic efforts from WFTDA's Big 5, we're staring down the barrel of some substantial travel and broadcast costs. We've recalibrated our fund drive target based on our current coverage goals. Our 2011 Fund Drive is off to a good start, but we've got some distance to close in order to bring you the coverage you've come to depend on.

We have a great lineup of contributor premiums to reward larger gifts this year, including full team outfitting from DerbySkinz, DNN limited edition Antik skates, limited edition signed photos of notable skaters, and this year's screen print DNN garments from Flat Track Revolution. Learn more here.

If you plan to enjoy this fall's coverage on DNN, and you have the means, please do your part!


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MRDA Championship Tournament

The 2011 MRDA Championship Tournament is the Big Apple Beatdown!
Check it out: http://www.nyshockexchange.com/mrda-championships/
Final Regular Season MRDA Rankings will be released next week.

I like you.

I like you, I don't love you yet. I am sending a contribution your way in hopes that it will help to bring a better video to my computer some day. I long to see the players faces and numbers.

Make me love you.

Player numbers and streaming coverage

This brings up a good point about player numbers: If they're not obvious to an observer from any angle, at any halfway-reasonable difference, they're too small and/or are not in enough places. Basically, if DNN's boutcasters can't see who's on the jammer line from any location before a jam starts, then the numbers are inadequate to easily identify the players.

Numbers on a football jersey are HUGE (8-10", by rule), and are on the front, the back, and on both shoulders/sleeves of the player (and sometimes even on the helmet and pants) because they need to be identified from any angle at any time by officials on the field, the announcers high above the field, the crowd all around the field, and the TV audience away from the field. And doing so is drop-dead easy.

As a part of WFTDA wanting to expand their coverage of The Big 5 to form consistent broadcast coverage, they should also consider mandating even larger uniform numbers at a minimum, and perhaps even consider making front uniform numbers required as well.

Many times players are skating forward and into the camera, at which point I have absolutely no idea who they are until someone says who they are, or they turn around and skate the other way. But even then, if the video quality isn't the best, I don't know if I'd be able to pick out the numbers since they're so small.

As derby coverage expands, little details like this also need to be considered.

I appreciate the need

I too, would like to see larger, or at least more noticeable numbers on skater uniforms. I'd like to know who they are with the greatest of ease, particularly if they're playing really well. Makes its more convenient to talk about what fabulous skaters they are on DNN.

I get the feeling that some teams don't care about the individual noticeability issue and simply want to be seen as team, as some indistinguishable force of kick ass, and not define themselves with large uniform numbers in opposition to the way traditional sports define athletes.

Some teams are very good about identifiable numbers (and names) on the jerseys, but it would be good if everybody got in the habit--just for us fans:)

Things to keep in mind about that...

Sometimes the boutcasters are positioned ideally for IDing skaters. Like up on a stage, which just so happens to be behind the start line. Sometimes they're in a spot where they've got no way of seeing who's in the lineup until well after the jam stars. Don't get me started about lineup tracker positioning.

In a perfect world, everyone has uniform helmets with the skaters' numbers on both sides (like TXRG's Texecutioners do). And everyone has their name on their back. Some leagues have this dopey thing about the team vs individuals, blah blah blah. While I suspect it's really a cop out for saving a few bucks on letters, the worst thing about it aside from what it does to announcers and textcasters is that it keeps their fans from being able to easily identify the skaters.

names & numbers

I feel numbers are more important than names for uniforms. Look at the Yankees for example, no names appear on their uniform, just a large number. If you follow NASCAR (which if you're an announcer listening to the MRN radio broadcast will help you tremendously - but that is another story), you'll hear drivers refer to other drivers and teams by their car numbers: "the 6 car is right behind you; that is the 41 on your bumper; the 48 is an idiot and I'm going to talk to him about it later." Thankfully WFTDA has done away with ridiculous numbers for all-stars but not putting a name on the jersey is going to be less of a cost-cutting effort and more of a logistic thing since girls still have potentially long names. Also, the athletic cut of many uniforms, TXRG for example, doesn't leave enough shoulder space for many letters.

Numbers without names...

ozzy_zion wrote:

I feel numbers are more important than names for uniforms. Look at the Yankees for example, no names appear on their uniform, just a large number. If you follow NASCAR (which if you're an announcer listening to the MRN radio broadcast will help you tremendously - but that is another story), you'll hear drivers refer to other drivers and teams by their car numbers: "the 6 car is right behind you; that is the 41 on your bumper; the 48 is an idiot and I'm going to talk to him about it later." Thankfully WFTDA has done away with ridiculous numbers for all-stars but not putting a name on the jersey is going to be less of a cost-cutting effort and more of a logistic thing since girls still have potentially long names. Also, the athletic cut of many uniforms, TXRG for example, doesn't leave enough shoulder space for many letters.

Numbers without names can work fine in a situation where you're announcing your team against another. You know your own roster, you've got time to prep on the other team's roster. I know you know this, but tournaments are a whole other thing. You maybe get five-ten minutes to figure out the numbers on the teams. Or you're checking a roster page mid-sentence (which as often as not has skaters who aren't in the game, or their "unofficial numbers"). Teams turn up with numbers that don't contrast well with their jerseys. Or they have "0" and "00" on the same team (which causes stats issues too). My league replaced last year's uniforms because the nice looking rounded font numbers all looked alike.

Putting the names on there as well makes for a lot less of "I believe it's Kim Chee with lead jammer, no wait it's Explosive Daria!" in the announcing and particularly in textcasting.

As far as logistial issues, long names can be abbreviated.

names please!

I always jump in when this debate comes up because I feel so strongly that we need both names and numbers! For all the reasons already mentioned, plus a big one to me is fan-friendliness. Fans love the names. Names are soooo much more memorable than numbers. I know derby names of friends and acquaintences all over the world, but no way could I tell you 98% of their numbers. Why do you think that most pro sports have both names and numbers on their jerseys? Leaving off names is a mistake IMO.

I agree 100%.

As an announcer, it's easy enough at home, when I know all the skaters. But in a tournament situation, it is very difficult.

We want to provide the best possible play-by-play and color commentary we can, and names on uniforms really help us out.

Me too

I completely understand why teams choose not to put their names on their jerseys for as long as it's not required. I think there is a strategic advantage when your opponents know who to look out for by name only, and don't learn the number or the face.

It does come at a huge cost to the fans though. New and newish fans don't know their players' numbers, and often can't tell them apart from the other skaters at first underneath all their gear. Certainly there are a couple exceptions in every squad, but they want to cheer for a NAME and it's far more work to get involved in the action when they have to keep checking their programs... if they're even listed by both name and number.

Short version: Dear WFTDA, please require names on jerseys.


I've found that uniforms with names on the back often look cluttered. Maybe it's a design issue, but I prefer the looks of the numbers-only variety.

If more announcers get in the habit of referring to skaters by their numbers, that will help the issue. Don't just mention them by name, make sure to say "Another great block by number 6, Dolly Rocket!" Some announcers are already good about this, but it would be nice if it became de rigeur.

How about leagues who put

How about leagues who put numbers on their uniforms and no names, submit all of their numbers/names in numerical order instead of alphabetical? And print the programs like that too.

Actually, everyone should do this even if they have their names on their uniforms. Long hair and ponytails tend to make those names hard to read.

Not a big deal.

We get the rosters in numerical order before each game. It's just putting numbers and names together when we're up on the podium while we're also getting injury reports from the last game, reading sponsor copy, and hearing how Coach Blahblah thought the last set of announcers were coaching from the mic.

Programs are the participating leagues' ability to be creative and do whatever they want. The fewer rules the better.

as a fan...

I prefer names on the back. I also think numbers on hips should be mandatory, since refs are looking there for passing.

I concur.

I concur.

clever idea

about the numbers on the hips, I like that one

very sad...

that DNN didn't win the broadcast rights for the big 5...I get the reasoning behind why WFTDA put it out to bidding...but still feel like we are losing part of where we came from. I <3 DNN and wouldn't have the knowledge and development without you x Just saying... no disrespecting... just sad


"Devastated" is too strong a word to use, probably, but...I'm in another, essentially derby-less country right now, and this really, really sucks.

Is there anywhere we CAN watch the Big 5??

It will still be online

Malice Munro wrote:

Is there anywhere we CAN watch the Big 5??


there will be video

Malice Munro, the fact that DNN didn't win the bid must mean that someone else won it. Can you believe the first Big 5 tournament is just over one week away? I bet WFTDA will soon announce just how you'll tune in.

But will there will be quality video?

Hopefully, whoever the bid winner is brings the high quality as well as providers such as Blaze Streaming and LADD.

Mav TV and B2 America did not shoot the derby all that well IMO.

If it's pay-walled, at least have the bouts archived for those who weren't able to watch in real time.

Or free video?

Or free video?

DNN-less video Tourney coverage

I'm sad as well. :( all the best announcers work for DNN. All the best how-the-eff can we get coverage for this growing sport dudes and dudettes have rolled with DNN. My god, who will they use? Will they speak our language? Will they be dropout freshmeat that thought announcing would be fun? Who the damnation outbid DNN in this market? I want good coverage and good soothing Dumptruck and Val Capone voices, not local college radio station or big boring sportscaster voices. Finally I can agree, this is an outrage!

I'm sure they will find someone to announce...

Likely here:


Yep, all announcers this year

Yep, all announcers this year must be AFTDA certified. As best i can tell from the mailing lists, it's the usual douchebags on the house and stream calls. Thus, rejoice.

tournament announcing

Don't be sad. There are a ton of great announcers ready to go. I know I'm ready. :)

High quality world cup broadcast please. :)

Can we please please have HD for the world cup!!! Watch it on the big screen! Just like ECDX. I'd be more than willing to pay a small fee for it.

Hate to kick the hornet's nest again

But ECDX was done by Blaze this year. So yeah, their stuff looks good.


I feel like WFTDA will be kicking themselves for this decision. DNN has the knowledge and procedural infrastructure already set up to handle this well (as they have proved in the past). I hope whoever they chose are a) Knowledgeable about roller derby, b) offering a free feed as well as a high quality paywall feed c) offering archived bouts online.


Blaze rules OK

alassin sane wrote:


We're in good hands. They provide great composition for capturing the flow, the speed, and the pack play of derby.

How did we get to this point anyway?

Would the WFTDA be as large and far reaching as they are now if it weren't for the tireless, thankless, and entirely voluntary efforts of leadjammer.com (I remember siting with D'Nouncer Duane hitting refresh every 5 seconds as KCRW played TXRG on a cold snowy February night in 2007) or from DNN's coverage of international derby?

DNN has gifted the WFTDA with its international success. Period. How else would skaters and fans in Europe, South America and Australia have ever been able to watch the roller derby, learn the rules and see the highest level of competition if it weren't for DNN. I understand the need to take our sports broadcast to the next level. However, it is in the humble opinion of this fan that WFTDA should be taking DNN with them and not leaving them behind.

Shame on you WFTDA.

Shame? Don't make me laugh

ozzy_zion wrote:

DNN has gifted the WFTDA with its international success. Period. How else would skaters and fans in Europe, South America and Australia have ever been able to watch the roller derby, learn the rules and see the highest level of competition if it weren't for DNN. I understand the need to take our sports broadcast to the next level. However, it is in the humble opinion of this fan that WFTDA should be taking DNN with them and not leaving them behind.

Shame on you WFTDA.

What a short-sighted comment.

The WFTDA announced from day 1 that there would be an open bidding process for tournament coverage. That meant they were looking for the best possible coverage under the best possible arrangements, and Blaze delivered that. DNN didn't this time around.

But to suggest that the WFTDA is "leaving them behind" is a joke. DNN isn't going anywhere. DNN is going to keep on doing what they're going to keep on doing, which is covering derby events from all angles: Previews, news, results, scores, and occasional streaming coverage, either by hosting other streams or by doing their own productions. And WFTDA will always refer people to DNN for news and scores, so WFTDA is taking DNN with them.

Blaze is one of the best around at setting up cameras and providing streaming video coverage of sporting events. That's what they do, and since it's the only thing they do, they do it very, very well.

If the WFTDA didn't pick the best provider of streaming video production with a proven track record (Blaze) for tournament season, but instead went with a group that (by their own admission) does things as well as they possibly could on a shoestring budget (DNN) but not as good as Blaze, that would be a lot more shameful, wouldn't it?

point taken

I do realize that it was a bid and it was fair. My point was simply that I do not think WFTDA would have grown to require this sort of video feed issue if it weren't for DNN and because of that they should be bringing DNN along as a video partner. Sure BLAZE and the WFTDA are using the AFTDA for announcing pool so we won't be stuck with someone who doesn't know the sport, but I for one would rather log into DNN, pay DNN a fee for a HD feed, and see the website that helped the WFTDA grow to the size it is now benefit from its volunteerism and hard work. Thank you for helping me see that some of my comments were made in haste and with a great deal of emotion involved, but alas this is how I feel.

Well, you know

So DNN didn't get the video gig - they are still providing, as outlined above, a lot of additional awesome coverage of these events. Multilingual textcasting! Yes! (Do you guys need someone fluent in Strine? I bet Vaderella and I could pull something together.) Recaps! Analysis! Text messages with scores when my students make me stop watching the stream and start teaching them about poetry on Fridays! Glittery video highlights! All that other stuff!

Log in and make DNN a donation in recognition and support of a whole bunch of great, important supporting information - some of which will arguably do more to spread derby around the world than an English-language video anyway (here's a thought - simultaneous audiocast in those textcaster languages??).

Then log in and pay for your HD feed from WFTDA and Blaze - or watch the freebie and be grateful that you're not even being asked for a donation - and enjoy the ultra-prettiness of some high-powered video experts doing their thing. I am pretty sure that the tech nerd who made it possible for us to have two browser windows open simultaneously foresaw this exact situation (roller derby, global subculture, streaming video, etc - all the details) and made it his life's work to let us enjoy DNN and Blaze simultaneously.

It's all swings and roundabouts - we lose some cool stuff, but we gain some, too. Roll with it. And brush up on your languages so you can textcast in halting, Australian-crossed-with-"gutter-Beiruti" Arabic or Indonesian next year ... okay, maybe that last bit is just me.

So I went to the WFTDA page about Big 5 viewing

And they had a video comparing the free stream vs the pay stream. I was expecting a 360p for free vs a 720p or higher for the pay feed. Instead the free stream took up only a quarter of the player window and the pay stream filled the player both at 360p. Please say I am missing something here? Seriously, I am not trying to be my usual idiot self but if that is what we have to look forward to then this is going to be a sad tournament season for a lot of folks.

* just for the record, I have enjoyed Blaze's coverage of Rose City for quite a while and paid for their feed from Westerns last year.

I think that was just a YouTube example.

We'll see this weekend, though!

If it's anything like the ECDX...

....then Blaze's HD feed should be a bucketfull of awesome. Last week, I ran an HDMI cable from my computer to my 55" HD tv, and watched the archived footage from the ECDX. It was incredible. Crystal clear, no lags, no pixels. Roller derby in HD is simply beautiful, and the way God meant it to be viewed.

The announcers weren't too shabby either. ;-)

Thanks, Koolaid

I'd been practicing my American just for the occasion. I don't think anyone oot-ed me, eh?

Nobody's figured out I'm

Nobody's figured out I'm Canadian yet, so I think we're in good shape.

... aw crap.

uh oh

Does this mean I have to pretend to be British now?

They didn't ask you to say

They didn't ask you to say "bout" some more, like i did?

The SD feed is fine

I've watched plenty of Blaze feeds over the free SD channel, and it was more than adequate. I have a 42" HDTV and their SD feeds have looked just fine on it when put to full screen. The HD feeds have looked way better, of course.

Just remember that the reason why the 360p video was so much smaller than the 720p video (in the sample) is because the 720p feed has four times the information in it--hence why the 360p feed appears four times as small. But it's still more than enough in the free feed to expand to full screen on a computer monitor, or in my case, an HDTV running at 1080i hooked up to my computer.

It's not DNN vs Blaze media.

DNN is the reason so many people got their first look at RollerDerby. DNN provided an abundance of amazing bouts, great tournaments, rollercon footage and more. I have called many bouts for DNN over the years. I was able to introduce the world to men's derby through DNN while calling the 1st streamed mens bout. It was a pleasure to call the first bout that really caused a ranking when Texas & Gotham played in Connecticut a few years back. It was DNN that showed one of the best bouts in history as Philly beat Gotham in the final second at Eastern Regionals in the Dorton Arena and it was DNN that gave Dumptruck, Pelvis Constello, Randy Pan,Val Capone, Rev Al Mighty (me) and many others something to do on our weekends besides drink heavily. DNN will always be a part of the derby world. DNN will continue to be a present & strong force in Roller Derby.

WFTDA made a descision to go with a production company that focuses on production, this is what they do. This is all they do. Anyone who saw ECDX this year saw the video. It was great! Why? Because that is what they do. They then chose to add roller derby knowledge by going to the best announcers in the county, all certified in rules and regulation, and asked for assistance. Their production is strong and the derby knowledge will be to. There will be no non-derby announcers....

The viewing world of Roller derby owes DNN a huge thanks...As this sport grows, so will it's need to go outside our circle & find new ways to cover all that is going on...I will always be available to call for DNN whenever needed & consider the entire staff personal friends.I am sure that this world is going to be big enough for experts in every area...Nobody can tough DNN when it comes to grass roots stats, JFM writes more than anybody I have ever known, Gnosis is a tech wizard who will always come up with the next best thing ( hint helmut cam) and Hurt is still the sexiest MF in the bussiness with a great bussiness sense.

Your Friend,
The Shirtless One,
The Reverend Al Mighty

I agree with Rev Al Mighty

I learned alot from both, while building www.canuckderbytv.com with two tin cans and a string. Sure we get shit video feeds and such, but both DNN and Blaze always helped in telling me how to hold up the cans and with what length of string. I find it funny that people still think that because its free, there is no cost to the producer. Support whoever is streaming, they might just break even.

Dr.Johnny Capote
Canuck Derby TV

paid up and ready

Ok, so I just paid my 20$ to have high quality streaming for this afternoon's game at wftda.
I will mis DNN's live chat during the game, I might go back and forth to check on it.

Skids on the Block are in great form, they've had excellent practices to prepare for this tournament.

Thanks to DNN for the excellent reporting as usual, we'll be checking your site all weekend.
Sorry you lost the bid !


No so happy right now....

I paid up (twice, actually) and have no access as yet....I just got an error message after I paid my money. I have an email out trying to resolve it. I hope it's dome soon, because I want to catch the CArolina/London game, and will be in class right up until noon!


frustration might be premature

First whistle is still over 90 minutes away, so I wouldn't panic quite yet. Day one is always hard.

Same Problem Here

I'm having the same issue (payment processes, page redirects back to derbyaccess, error message). I've emailed support@blazestreaming.com as well.

So it's not just you. I'll update when it's resolved.

edit: Fixed. (That was fast.)

Thanks, Joe!

online now

I logged in to wftda and the video is already online, showing the track and the preparation before 1st game; the sound is cutting off at times, maybe that's normal pre-game. I'll report later. The image sure is clear !!!!!!

I'll be watching the game later at 2.

How does the quality compare to previous events?

This is the first time I've watched live streaming derby. Watching from the UK, I used the browser on my PS3 to stick it up full-screen on my 46" set and the quality was well below TV-quality, so pretty far from "HD" - the resolution was fine I think, but the stream was so heavily compressed that faces were just pink smudges except when they got quite close, and text was often much harder to read than it should have been given the size on-screen.

I also had the stream cut out a few times, the PS3 seemed to find it a lot more difficult to get it started again than my PC. In any case, I have no idea how any of this compares to normal derby streaming, or indeed how many of my issues were affected by my own setup rather than being common to all viewers.


I paid 80$ for the whole Big 5 thing, and was impressed with video quality last night. However, I would love to check out these bouts at my own pace, me being in Finland and all that it's gonna be hard to catch them live due to a time difference. The archives don't seem to be at work yet, and now I'm wondering if bouts are going to available only after championships?

Sorry, Glory

DNN has no involvement in the video production or archiving of the Big 5 this year, so we have no answer for that question. However, I think someone asked a similar question on WFTDA's facebook page, and I have heard there is an email address on the web page that contains the video that you can send questions to.

An idea

This is something that I thought about last night when I saw some confusing moves being done without penalties attached and I use to be able to write a question in on the textcast and get some type of response but now, I can't. And if I tried to explain it, well.. just trust me, it's better if I don't explain why I can't explain stuff very well.

Anyway, my idea is having someone with rules/derby knowledge be a texcaster to answer viewer questions about the game that is being played at that time.