The IPTC launched the SportsML project in March, 2001, as part of a larger effort to create specialized formats for data of interest to the news industry. Since then SportsML evolved and included more and more types of sports. In 2008 its version 2.0 joined the family of IPTC G2-Standards.
The IPTC saw a vacuum with respect to a cross-sport, cross-language XML standard for the interchange of sports data and statistics. A sufficient number of IPTC members volunteered to devote the necessary amount of resources for the design and implementation of an XML DTD for sports, and its requisite supporting documentation and examples.
It is our hope that non-IPTC members, such as major sports leagues and special-event producers, will rally behind SportsML as a global standard. Our shared goal is to make the deployment of interactive sports data applications as easy as possible for customers of sports data feeds.
What’s in SportsML?
SportsML supports the identification and description of a tremendous number of sports characteristics. Highlights include:
- Scores: Who’s winning, and how did the score change?
- Schedules: Who’s playing who, when, and where?
- Standings: Who’s in first place? Who’s closest to qualifying for the championship?
- Statistics: How do the players and/or teams measure up against one another in various categories?
- News: How do we combine editorial coverage of sports with all these data feeds? How do we package metadata- and multimedia-filled articles together with sports data?
SportsML consists of a core DTD that contains a great amount of properties that describe a wide range of sports coverage. Much useful sports reporting can be done through the core DTD. In addition, SportsML contains several “plug-in” specific-sport DTDs, which are only necessary when the publisher needs to go in-depth for a specific sport. The fact that there are only seven sports covered in SportsML’s initial release does not limit SportsML to these seven sports. The core DTD provides an excellent starting point for many sports, and the development process for other plug-ins will continue. Interested users are more than welcome to take part in SportsML’s expansion and growth.