MacsLive is the broadcast home of the Yeshiva University Maccabees and the Red Sarachek Memorial Tournament. Founded in September 2001 by seniors Adam Cohen and Avi Bloom, MacsLive provides the Yeshiva University Athletics community the opportunity to watch all of the YU Men's Basketball home games, major road matchups, select games from other YU teams, and every broadcast of Sarachek tournament games.
MacsLive is completely administered by Yeshiva University students, with every facet of the operation—from the set up of equipment to the broadcast itself—performed by members of the Yeshiva student body. A typical broadcast includes play-by-play, color commentary, and sideline reports, as well as interviews and analysis. With an excellent production, quality cameras, instant replay, and top-notch student announcers, MacsLive hosts arguably the best basketball broadcast in all of NCAA Division III.
MacsLive began with under $5000 in equipment and a staff of 4, calling a radio broadcast. “All we had was four headsets, [and] an audio mixing board, and [we] couldn’t even go to commercial during breaks,” Cohen said. In 2012, MacsLive migrated to an HD video setup.
In 2020, MacsLive leadership—David Schwartzman, Akiva Poppers, and Justin Safier—led a major improvement project, pitching extensive equipment upgrade plans to both potential donors and Yeshiva University departments. MacsLive was able to secure $35,000 in funding from Lance Hirt, Lior Hod, and Mordy Leifer, who dedicated their donations to former Yeshiva Coach Jonathan Halpert, as well as an additional $12,000 in internal contributions—$7,000 from Neal’s Fund, in memory of Neal Dublinsky A”H, and $5,000 from the YU Admissions Department.
The highlights of the upgrades MacsLive made were 4 Sony a7s III cameras with GM lenses, technology to allow for wireless video transmission of three of the cameras, new video heads and tripods, a new GPU, CPU, capture card, and SSD, both new and improved audio and communication equipment, three switchers and a replay controller, and new monitors. MacsLive was able to make quick use of these improvements, and within a year were receiving praise from across the Division III community.
“They[’ve] brought a Division I, almost like a professional feel to the broadcast of our games,” Yeshiva Head Men’s Basketball Coach Elliot Steinmetz told The Forward in a feature about MacsLive. “We’re getting kids who are calling us and being like ‘Yeah, I watched your games online because they’re so much fun to watch.’”
MacsLive is comprised of two major components: game broadcasts and the MacsLive.com website, which was created in 2003. For the first several years of the organization, MacsLive was officially called ‘MacsLive Reporting Services’. Before and after each Macs game, solely in an effort to increase listenership for the broadcast, Cohen wrote a game preview and recap which was sent out to the Yeshiva community via email. These articles often doubled the listening audience, and became elaborate, featuring inside information and statistics that MacsLive gained from their close relationship with the team. As time went on, the website featured an occasional Macs preview or recap, but it was lost as one of the main branches of MacsLive. However, in 2019, MacsLive decided to return to its reporting roots, with previews and recaps for every Macs game, as well as other insightful articles written both about men's basketball and other YU teams. Since its inception, the website (besides for being the portal to tuning in to games) has also been the prime place for enthusiasts to receive up-to-date Sarachek Tournament scores, as well as game previews and recaps.
A tremendous number of fans from around the country tune in every year to watch the Maccabees as they compete for the Skyline Conference Championship. The highest viewership in MacsLive history was when the #1 ranked Maccabees faced the 4th ranked Illinois Wesleyan Titans on December 30, 2021; over 13,000 screens—an estimated 40,000 total viewers—tuned into MacsLive, with even more people watching the JLTV feed of the MacsLive broadcast. Almost 11,500 unique viewers watched MacsLive’s first ever NCAA Tournament broadcast, as the 19th ranked Macs fell to #10 Johns Hopkins at Stockton University in 2022. For the 2020 Skyline Conference Final, 8,640 unique viewers tuned in as Yeshiva defeated Purchase and won their first ever conference tournament on their home floor.
During the five days of Sarachek, the MacsLive.com website is typically visited by about 15,000 unique viewers. In comparison, during the 2003 tournament, the first to be broadcast by MacsLive, only 4,000 computers logged on to listen to games; the growth of MacsLive has been incredible to witness. A record 8,200 unique viewers watched the 2022 Sarachek Championship game, which saw Valley Torah defeat DRS.
"MacsLive has been a great partner during the expansion of athletics at Yeshiva University," said former Yeshiva University Director of Athletics Joe Bednarsh, who, when creating the live webcast page for the games in 2001, came up with the name ‘MACS LIVE’. "They are a dedicated and engaged group of young men and women who have taken an idea and turned it into an institution. Yeshiva University was one of the leaders in broadcasting games due solely to their desire to produce a product that improved every year. Without MacsLive, I don't think that we would have as large a worldwide audience of Macs fans."