Bloomberg & Baseball

by Bizzy Daggett  |  January 29, 2010

A recent article in the New York Times titled "Bloomberg Technology Embraces Baseball" has left me astonished, perplexed and really in a state of confusion. Bloomberg, best known for its around the clock financial news terminals, has stepped into the world of sports and developed software to analyze baseball player stats. Come again? Really? Baseball stats? Astonished and confused come to mind considering I spend half my life in front of a Bloomberg terminal and the other half watching, eating, and breathing baseball.

My astonishment comes from my perception of Bloomberg and its global powerhouse profile. The last article I read on the company was how its business strategy is to "Rule the World" or at least in terms of world of business news. Bloomberg L.P. has approx. 280,000 customers subscribing to its financial news and data terminals and the vast majority of its estimated $6.3 billion in revenue is derived from these terminals. Why would Bloomberg even bother investing time and energy by plunging into the world of baseball?

My confusion comes from the math behind this baseball venture. If my numbers are correct and Bloomberg signs all 30 teams for their service (for say $50,000 each) it would bring in $1.5 million annually.  Wouldn’t this be considered small change for Bloomberg? Why try something completely new with such a small return? What really didn’t compute was Daniel L. Doctoroff’s (Bloomberg’s President) quote about this new endeavour: “Not everything we do has to be huge.” Really? Does this fall into your modest strategy of global domination?

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll be the first person to sign up for Bloomberg’s baseball software if they extend the invite  to the public. But is this a natural extension of Bloomberg? I’m sure that they only made a relatively small initial investment into this project, but do they hope to seek a return beyond baseball? Do they plan to expand and develop software for teams and leagues around the world? Of course they do! May as well aim to “Rule the World” of sports news and data too.

Bloomberg has always been doing the counter intuitive with all its endeavors. They are world leaders in technological research and even though this release seems to be out of the norm for them I fully support this venture in all its shapes and forms.

If you’d like to read the original article from the New York Times, click here.

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