In order to deliver 2,430 live baseball games to its fans, Major League Baseball needed a robust network to ensure that all the news, highlights, statistics and high-definition video being sent out from stadiums across the country could reach its home office in New York, before being delivered out to MLB.tv customers and fans that wished to access that content. And it turned to Global Crossing to build and manage that network.
It’s important to note that Global Crossing is not providing content delivery network services that zip video from MLB servers to end users, but instead is enabling high-speed access and connectivity between the 30 Major League ballparks and its home office in New York. To do so, Global Crossing installed 155 Mbps fiber-optic access loops at each of the 30 ballparks hosting the league’s games, and a 2.5 Gbps access loop in New York connecting to Global Crossing’s network. Global Crossing has wrapped this network in an IP VPN service to enable high levels of reliability and security between MLB locations.
Rolling out these services wasn’t fast — according to Gary Breauninger, Global Crossing’s chief financial officer for North America and Worldwide Carrier Services, the project took between three months and five months to fully implement. However, because Global Crossing operates a common network throughout the country, Breauninger says it can offer guaranteed levels of service throughout the country, which might not have otherwise been available since the incumbents don’t operate in all MLB markets. In addition, Global Crossing’s IP-based MPLS network allows the provider to do certain levels of network management to ensure that voice and video traffic is delivered with low latency and packet loss.
What’s interesting is that in building this type of network, MLB is acting less like a media company or an enterprise customer and more like a network services provider. Due to the connectivity and service level agreements involved, the sports league is going above and beyond to ensure that all its games are delivered flawlessly.
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