Sports organizations are one of the biggest investors in data center real estate. They use big data analytics to evaluate players with the best statistical profiles and launch predictive models for improvement in operations and customer relationship management. Baseball was one of the first sports to pioneer heavy investment in big data. Even non-baseball fans may know about Sabermetrics, a quantitative approach to evaluating players made famous by Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane, which was the focus of the 2011 Oscar-nominated film "Moneyball." Big data has effectively changed the way that people think about and even play baseball, so it's no stretch to say that Major League Baseball is one of the highest-profile big data users around.
All the text and video data used for player evaluations and organizational decisions needs somewhere to go. Every pitch from every contest of each team's 162-game schedule gets stored, which is in part why MLB is now opening the Scott Data Center in Omaha, Neb. The data center is the league's first outside of New York, according to Data Center Knowledge editor Jason Verge. Their massive storage and archival needs are expected to reach up to 8,000 square feet of space or approximately 1.2 MW of critical load. For Scott Data Center, a primarily retail colocation company, that's more than twice as much space as that devoted to their next biggest client.
"In a single baseball season, MLB Advanced Media generates 1.5 million gigabytes of live and on-demand baseball video," Verge wrote. "This includes video streaming from the company's growing roster of non-baseball clients. MLB Advanced Media creates and stores 6 million gigabytes of content each year."
Environmental concerns drove data center expansion
Prior to this data center lease, MLB relied solely on New York data centers. MLB was concerned about a repeat weather performance on the level of Hurricane Sandy, which pummeled the East Coast nearly a year ago. The new location will create a remote backup solution for all of MLB Advanced Media's stored and streamed data, providing key archival, backhaul and Internet video infrastructure, reported Datacenter Dynamics. Although the company was already looking to expand, the aftermath of Sandy encouraged them to speed up their data center research. After working with a data center broker, they opted for an environment quite different from their current one in New York – and interestingly, one that is more than 200 miles away from the closest MLB franchise, Verge said.
The MLB was drawn to the Scott Data Center due to its non-coastal location, high level of fiber optic network connectivity and low energy costs, reported Omaha.com. Scott Data Center officials said that the presence of MLB Advanced Media in their data center was a positive development for the city and community.
"MLB's stature – both its brand name and its extensive infrastructure and power requirements – is expected to strengthen Omaha's position as a hub for data centers," stated Scott Data Center President Ken Moreano, according to Verge.