MLB.com: A Case of Streamlining Stats

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Dec 28, 2011


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Article ImageMajor League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) is the internet and interactive branch of Major League Baseball (MLB), operating the league's website, MLB.com, as well as sites for the league's 30 teams. As a central hub for baseball fans, MLB.com is responsible for providing its visitors with up-to-date news, schedules, standings, and statistics from around the league. In addition, MLB.com also offers live audio and video game broadcasts for subscribers.
(www.mlb.com)

Business Challenge:

For MLBAM, being in charge of MLB.com and the league's 30 team sites means managing a lot of digital content. Whether it is baseball season or the off season, MLB fans are always hungry for everything from statistics to video highlights, and it is MLBAM's job to keep them satiated with fresh content. When MLBAM realized that it was wasting too much time with traditional methods of logging and publishing all the different kinds of baseball related information, Rob Boysko, manager of multimedia publishing at MLB, started looking for a solution to simplify the process and cut down on content headaches.

Vendor of Choice: Central Desktop

Founded in 2005 and with headquarters in Pasadena, California, Central Desktop delivers a cloud-based social collaboration platform that streamlines how teams, departments, and entire companies connect and share information. Since its launch, Central Desktop has worked with such notable clients as CBS, Harvard University, the Humane Society of the United States, Netflix, SicolaMartin, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
(www.centraldesktop.com)


The Problem in Depth:

If you've ever seen, heard, or been within a two mile radius of a Yankees vs. Red Sox game, you know that baseball fans take their sport very seriously. Baseball may be America's past time, but perusing statistics, watching highlight clips, and streaming games online has now become as much a part of the game as hotdogs, beer, and "the wave." With 2.61 billion visitors logging onto their site per year, MLB.com understands this better than anyone. Keeping tabs on the constant flow of content cycling through MLB.com and its 30 team sites wasn't easy though.

"We put out so much game content and so much video. For the last couple of years it has grown exponentially, and we were never really tracking exactly what was going out there," says Boysko. "We have our internal system, but the search engines on those, and just the access to those was never ideal for everyone. We really needed to better document what we were putting out there, and know where it was living on all of our sites." In addition, "when we get to the off season, we want to make sure there is new content for each club, on a weekly basis, or on a whatever we decide basis, and there was no real good way besides having somebody go through all 30 sites every day."

MLBAM found that the process of pushing content out to the different websites was time consuming and often riddled with gaps in communication. "What MLB.com does, when they are serving their 30 baseball teams is, they literally have people sitting at a desk watching the baseball game, and whenever something significant happens, they pause the video and take a time splice of when it is happening and who's playing, and they would write it down," explains Central Desktop CEO and co-founder, Isaac Garcia. The clip would then be sent over to the production team to be prepared for the site before being published. "For every game, there are a series of highlights that need to happen: homeruns, saves, errors, and this was all being managed manually," says Garcia.

Getting all the different departments to work on exactly what needed to be done at the right time was like choreographing a delicate dance. "They had three departments that were emailing files back and forth, managing spreadsheets, verbally yelling at each other to run the process to get done," says Garcia. That is when MLBAM finally said that they had to find a better way. And so began the search for a solution that would help the MLB keep track of their content as well as automate and create the workflow that they needed for their business.

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