April 23, 2013

APIs are changing the game for data delivery


Sports news happens 24-7. Perhaps the Final Four game is taking place and everyone’s checking the score.  Maybe Buster Posey’s stats went up, or Tom Brady just made a touchdown pass.  Fans who like to regularly follow their favorite teams need access to this information via the devices, apps, social networks, and/or media outlets of their choice.

Companies ranging from cable sports networks to fantasy sports leagues to video games can use sports APIs to power their products. Through sports APIs, these companies can have real-time access to scores and player statistics that, within seconds, are funneled to the hands of end users who can feel like they’re really at the game.

A key example of a company who has been succeeding at delivering quality, real-time data is SportsData, who provides statistical data and in-depth editorial content. It has embedded its sports data feeds into APIs, which are in turn segmented by sport and league, from college to professional. These APIs power eight of Sportdata’s own apps, as well as hundreds of third-party apps like StarStreet. SportsData has a whopping 130+ APIs in total and more than 1,000 configurations of data, making API management vital to running a successful data services business.  Since implementing proper API management, SportsData has gained 10 times as many clients and five times the level of traffic that it had in 2012.

The success of SportsData’s strategy is largely predicated upon the fact that it treats its APIs as products. SportsData has ensured that it can quickly and securely deliver its 1,000+ sports data feeds to its partners and end users. With the help of Mashery, it can cache data from RESTful APIs so that its own real-time feeds can be accessed at light speed. Furthermore, to differentiate itself from its competitors, SportsData doesn’t parse out its data within tiers; rather, customers get access to all the data available within each tier and segment. So if a company purchases MLB data for digital signage, it has access to more stats than it may have thought it needed, allowing for more creative uses of the data, and thus strengthening SportsData’s product offerings. This method is not only more cost-effective for SportsData, it is more beneficial to the consumer.

By managing APIs as products, SportsData also is able to give developers a clear sense of the information and capabilities they can attain from SportsData’s APIs. This propels developer partners to continue working with SportsData, creating a cycle of continuous adoption and further monetization. More SportsData APIs power more apps across more devices and users, drawing an even larger developer audience. In fact, at a Super Bowl 2013 hackathon, most of the winning apps were built off of SportsData’s APIs. It all ends in a win-win for SportsData, its customers, and the developers who use its APIs. And, of course, for the end users who can keep up with how many points Kobe Bryant just scored!

Contact us to learn more about managing your APIs a products.