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Back in mid July I got a phone call from Ben Rode from Livonia City FC asking me if I would like to cover the UPFC vs Livonia City FC game on Mackinac Island. I had not been to Mackinac Island since my early teens and without hesitation I jumped at the chance to bring MSN and my family to the Island. After I hung up the call with Ben I immediately called my wife Bianca to share the news and then called my broadcast partner Steve Besk and said MSN is heading north.


After accepting the invitation my immediate thought process went to internet on the island. After-all the population of Mackinac Island is less than a 1000 people, so the investment into great wifi, strong internet didn't seem very likely. I know Mackinac Island is a tourist destination, but it's an Island in the middle of Lake Huron and It just didn't seem like it would have what we needed to run a consistent stream for the broadcast. After doing our research and talking with members of the UPFC and Livonia City FC we were able to identify that most of the island was a 5G LTE T-MOBILE coverage area. This made me feel more comfortable because all of our iPads and wifi hub are under t-mobile. In most cases as part of the process of MSN when dealing with new locations we like to check out the internet and power situation prior to covering a game. In this situation driving the four plus hours was not going to happen. We were going to have to wait and see until the day of the game to determine how we were going to pull this off.


We left for Mackinac Island on Friday August 26th at five o'clock in the morning to make the 243 mile and four plus hour trip in time for the noon ferry. In the picture above you can see all of the luggage, plus equipment we needed to transport across to the island for our stay and the game on Saturday. We stayed at the Windermere Hotel and beautiful Hotel on the north side of downtown with gorgeous views and a huge front porch. We checked in and took the 1 mile walk up to Great Turtle Park to do an internet speed test at the field. The internet speed test was ok, I was getting 17 MBPS of download and around 7MBPS upload speed which to be fair is not bad and have run many games with worse speeds with no issues. After the speed test, we walked back down the island for a much needed nap and time to enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of Mackinac Island.


On the morning of the game my family and I decided to rent bikes and go for a stroll around the island. We competed the eight mile ride around the island in about 1 and 15 minutes. After the ride we ate some lunch and toured the Grand Hotel. After that the family and I separated for the afternoon so I could prepare for the match, and relax a bit before game time. A horse drawn taxi picked up Steve and I around 4:30 PM and we arrived at the field around 5 PM . We began our set up and I ran our first internet speed test around 5:45 PM. The speeds from the day before were not even close as our download speed was now around 1.5 MBPS and our upload speed wasn't even registering. At this point I pulled our 100 MBPS wifi hub and plugged it in and our internet speeds did not change. I remember looking at Steve and just shaking my head and saying "this is going to be a cluster F%$k".


Sometimes you just have to hit the red button and cross your fingers and hope that everything will work out. So at 6:45 PM I hit the record button and we went live. At first there was no real delay, we work in an environment in most cases where the delay from our live location to the viewer is 30 seconds to 1 minute. So to see our live on youtube come up 30 seconds later was fantastic to see. This was a short lived moment and I could start to see lag, freezing and choppy images from our live feed. At first you cannot tell if the it's from the iPad I am watching it on or it's actually the stream. After a few minutes my fears were confirmed and we could now tell that our delay was over 5 minutes from live feed to viewer. When this happens we know the stream is working really hard to keep it going. We kept rolling and 35 minutes into the first half we could tell we were fighting a losing battle. We were now some 25 minutes delayed, which meant that our stream was 25 minutes slower than what was happening in real time. We finished out the half and I made the decision to cancel the live feed and restart it. I knew that the viewer at home, would lose any time that had not been caught up, but i did this to see if we could get a fresh feed with a better response time. This did not work and the same issues continued for the entire second half.


As part of the recording process, we record all games locally and they save to our iPads in full production mode as well as each camera individually. In most cases we delete the game footage because it saves to youtube and there is no need for duplicates. I knew for the first time in the history of MSN, we were going to need the full footage from the game to be uploaded directly to youtube. At the conclusion of the game we packed our things up, Steve raced to the ferry docks in record time (9 minutes) and went and enjoyed food and drinks with the teams.

ALL in ALL the Mackinac Island Cup was a success, a record crowd came out to the island to watch it, UPFC has a strong and talented team, that lost to a better Livonia City FC side who has a lot more experience of playing at a higher level. I will say that UPFC could make some noise in the UPSL or MWPL if they ever choose to play in those leagues.

When I returned home on Monday morning I uploaded the game to youtube and got to work on our busy upcoming week of games.


Steve Besk

Ben Rode

Livonia City FC

Rob Chambers

WIndermere Hotel

Upper Peninsula FC

and my entire family.

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