On Tuesday, July 14th, the Major League Baseball All Star game will be heading to Cincinnati. For some, it marks the beginning of summer; for players, it marks the halfway point through the season; for fans it’s the chance to see the best-of-the-best playing together.  From all-star voting to the homerun derby, it is a game built on numbers.

While some players are perennial all-stars, others have had break-out starts in the first half of the 2015 season. Equally impressive to the individual performances leading into the All-Star festivities are the plays going on behind the scenes. The amount of video and data being captured, managed and stored by MLB Network and FOX Sports is an all-star performance in and of itself.

While fans go crazy for the jaw-dropping plays like the catches made by the Colorado Rockies’ Nolan Arenado or the Toronto Blue Jays’ Kevin Pillar, the road to an all-star appearance is about delivering amazing performance day-in, day-out.  The same can be said for those managing the data far, far behind home plate.

To put it into perspective, for FOX Sports, a single game alone – averaging about 3 hours in length – equates to 135 gigabytes in video and data. At the break, each team will have played 81 regular season games, translating to about roughly 12 terabytes of data per team.

But, as mentioned above, an all-star performance means delivering day-in, day-out.  An average day has about 15 games being played across the American and National Leagues. For FOX Sports, that means approximately 650 gigabytes of video, and images are captured, transferred and stored within the FOX Network Center in Los Angeles on a daily basis.  Including feeds from post-game press conference, additional camera angles and highlight reels that’s more than a staggering 325 terabytes a season.

Like the All-Star starters, success for the folks managing the data is about hitting it out of the park every game.

To deliver consistently for the entire season, players have trainers, coaches and support staff to lean on to help manage the pressure.  Likewise, to manage the sheer volume of video and metadata, MLB Network has to lean on its data infrastructure to manage, store and ultimately deliver it to fans anytime, anywhere on any device.

Whereas FOX usually employs two video feeds per game, MLB Network records multiple camera angles per game – not only for broadcast, but video-on-demand and training purposes. In terms of stats, MLB manages 4,200 hours of video recorded a week, driving in about 105 terabytes a week from all 30 parks across North America.  To move, manage and store this amount of data efficiently, more than 36 million metadata tags are applied detailing every play, every pitch.

To manage this, the MLB leverages data infrastructure built on Cisco, VMware and NetApp technology to store, manage and – ultimately – deliver content to its fans; anytime, anywhere.

At the end of the day, being an all-star is about delivering a great, consistent performance over the course of 162 games. This holds as true for the teams managing the data for MLB Network and FOX Sports as it does for the players on the field.


Jason Danielson