New Relic
By Barb Darrow
April 14, 2016

If you’ve been to any Major League Baseball games, read or watched Moneyball, or glanced at your favorite team’s web site, you know that stats and the national pastime are inextricably linked.

The league and tech partner New Relic (newr) are betting that there’s still an appetite for more. They are about to launch “Digging into the Data,” a new segment on MLB Network‘s weekly MLB Now show. Segments will also be available on MLB.com.

The program, to debut later this month, will delve into player performance data, but also focus on how baseball teams use that information. The league’s use of data crunching is extremely advanced, Robson Grieve, chief marketing officer for San Francisco-based New Relic told Fortune.

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In the past year, baseball fans have been treated to troves of new information via MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) Statcast. That service provides graphical statistic snippets that run on MLB Network, Fox and TBS networks. They go well beyond basic stuff like pitch speed to the time it takes a fielder to take his first step in reacting to a batted ball and home-run distance based on actual physics rather than barroom arguments.

Much of that information comes from cameras and radar in the ballparks that is then processed and analyzed in the Amazon Web Services cloud.

New Relic’ service acts as a sort of internal Statcast for MLB’s own technology systems, Sean Curtis, MLBAM’s senior vice president of engineering told Fortune.

“New Relic is all about performance data across all our digital products.” Curtis said. All of technologies running under the covers as well the way MLB content is sent out to consumers, is under New Relic’s microscope.

In theory, the New Relic Software Analytics Cloud service spots performance problems on MLB’s servers running in-house or on AWS before they become apparent to the outside world, that is viewers like you and me watching a game on our computer or smart phone. The product puts little pieces of software that act as agents on these servers that report their status back to the customer.

New Relic is a pioneer in this work, which is called application performance monitoring (APM.) It made its name in the last decade among developers who loved the software’s ability to pinpoint problems before they got big. Other New Relic tools monitor the performance of apps on user’s smart phones or other devices. New Relic competes with companies like Datadog and AppDynamics in this hot arena.

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MLB also uses New Relic-provided metrics to see how fast (or slow) a user’s web pages load, or if there are other issues on the receiving end of its content.

But perhaps even more importantly, it lets MLB assess which of the features it’s offering on these devices are being used and which aren’t. “We figure out what features resonate with our customers. If we anticipate they’ll use a digital ticketing feature, we’ll instrument that,” Curtis said.

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To get an idea of audience size, MLB.com estimates that its various properties attracted about 25 million daily visitors on average during the 2015 season.

And, citing comScore, the league said MLB At Bat was the “most consumed” mobile sports app as measured by total minutes of usage for that season. At Bat logged 6.9 billion total minutes consumed from April to September 2015 compared to 6.1 billion minutes for ESPN, 2.2 billion minutes for Yahoo Fantasy Sports, and 1.8 billion minutes for WatchESPN.

This story was updated at 4:16 p.m. EDT to reflect that Digging Into the Data will be a segment on MLB Now, not a program in its own right.

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