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Feeding the Super Bowl XLII Information Hungry Media Monster

Thursday, January 31, 2008 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 7:12 PM, under , ,

Athens, GA (Jan 31, 2008) - Visitors to this site that have accessed the composite Men's Division I Basketball Television Schedule are actually accessing data assembled and stored on an IBM Lotus Domino Server. This solution allowed Eye on Sports Media to repurpose poorly vetted and published data by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and present it in a more easily accessible and usable format for readers. The irony in doing this was taking the data from a very expensive IBM data platform (IBM Websphere Portal) and making it available on a cheaper, quicker platform to develop.

The fault was not with the software the NCAA was using, but how they were using the platform. There are times when IBM Websphere Portal SHOULD be the middleware platform of choice, like for a global event like Super Bowl XLII. The National Football League (NFL) recognizes this and is running their media portal built on this and other industrial strength IBM hardware and software tools.

"The NFL Media Portal has become a cornerstone for how fans -- our customers -- live, breathe and consume football through the media in the U.S. and around the world," said Joe Manto, VP of Business Services and User Support, National Football League in a news release from IBM. "This investment in technology also reflects the NFL's commitment to innovation and to our media partners."

Behind this dynamic NFL Web presence is IBM's industry top-ranked collaboration portal technology for corporate Web sites providing a personalized experience that unleashes information on demand. The IBM portal has also helped NFL Communications team streamline and manage several critical media interactions during the football season, including centralizing the media credentials management process and distributing periodic officiating review and rule change videos.

The IBM portal technology also added dynamic content such as video and audio clips and allowed the league to update content from remote locations, enabling real-time information updates as they happen during games in progress. Seeking to continue effectively serving one of its key audiences and to be the primary source of up-to-the-minute and authentic football information, the NFL decided to revamp its media Web site by building a robust extranet portal that could accommodate spikes in usage as well as dynamic content. The portal also needed to enable the league's communications arm to publish, share and manage information on the site remotely and in real time.

With the successful launch of the portal, the NFL now has an information technology platform for developing additional specialized portals that cater to its other key audiences.

"The NFL exemplifies how to use IBM collaboration efficiently to benefit its customers and influencers," stated Michael D. Rhodin (pictured left), general manager, IBM Collaboration and Lotus Software. "IBM is proud to support the NFL's current objectives and to demonstrate future Web 2.0-powered portal innovations at Super Bowl Week."

The media may not realize the plumbing supporting them this week, but they will not be going thirsty for information. And it is the quick availability of information from the NFL that had CBS Sports President Sean McManus saying just a couple of weeks ago that it means the sideline reporter is just not needed in the NFL anymore.

Photograph of Mike Rhodin Copyright 2007 by Christopher Byrne/Eye on Sports Media. All Rights Reserved.

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