I've been working in streaming technology for years now, and it's overdue that I write up some easy technical information on how to launch an MMA video podcast for the BE community.
I've worked with various live streaming and podcasting teams, including the Joe Rogan Experience, MMAJunkieRadio, and Heavy MMA. I've also supported individual live webcasts with Carlos Condit, Cain Velasquez, Ronda Rousey and Roy Nelson (some were more interesting than others). I even supported a web-streaming Invicta card that worked! I know, hard to imagine.
The large scale events that the UFC, Bellator and Invicta put on are rather complicated of course, but the individual and group podcasting stuff can be really easy. Hopefully I can encourage some of you to get into it.
Here are 6 tips to get you going:
1. Live is awesome. Do it in real-time if you can, because catching things in the moment and capturing people for the duration of your event creates great podcasts. You might be inclined to pre-record and then edit your videos, which I think is a fine start - but I can't stress enough the power of real-time broadcasts. There’s nothing quite like the immediate feedback and experience of performing live to help you improve quickly.
2. Check out either YouTube Live or Ustream for your streaming needs. They're both fairly easy (and free!) and although YouTube requires 100 subscribers to use their Live product, it's a familiar layout and they'll probably axe that subscriber limit this year. You probably already have all the equipment you need to get started. Your built-in laptop camera can work, as well as pretty much any external webcam. If you've ever done a Skype video call, you're mostly there. Of course if you want to produce Sportscenter-level content, you might need to get some pro gear, but if you’re reading this post then it’s likely that you could finish up and be streaming live within 10 minutes.
3. Get some friends, a co-host or at least some temporary guests. You might be the Alex Jones-type who could never possibly run out of words to yell into the camera, but assuming you're not crazy - you'll want other people to talk to. I think the guys over at UndercardSuperstar do a great job, mainly because you can tell they're friends. They mostly just run-through upcoming cards fight-by-fight, but their chemistry really carries them and makes for good content.
4. If you want to get fancy and incorporate video/images/etc. into your podcast, check out other streaming programs like Wirecast and Ustream's Producer (it's what Rogan uses). There's plenty of other gear out there too - but those are cheap/free and just require a download. Other equipment, for example is the Tricaster (which is a hardware box and can cost some serious $$) is used by Ariel Helwani for his MMA Hour show. If you have a PS4 and camera, you already have a simple, high quality streaming option with the Playroom game and Share button.
5. Following a few simple streaming best-practices can be the difference between total failure and great success. Make sure you have a good internet connection; usually about 2-3 megs (or more) of upload speed is required for HD quality, and 1-2 for SD. Check out Speedtest.net to see where you're at. Use a hardline, wired connection and avoid wi-fi if you can. Do a few practice runs to work out any kinks and don't be afraid to go live early and often - this isn't traditional TV or Radio where you have to hit the top of the hour. Just use your favorite social media platform to let people know when you're going on.
6. You can make money if you feel like it. Embed your podcast on a site where you can sell ads, or get paid to mention them in-stream. Some sites even offer PPV walls, but ad sales are probably the most common way broadcasters make money.
It's really easier (and cheaper) than you might think to start an MMA podcast. Just think of all the debates and discussions you're already having with friends and fellow fans. Put it in front of a webcam and you've already got a show!
I love to encourage the sport and the technology, so find me on BE or on Twitter @CGBrey if you've got questions.
Shout out to Andy Francis - a friend and streaming professional who helped contribute to this post. Find him on BE and Twitter as realandyfrancis. Also, Pride Never Die!