The International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) released SportsML 3.0, the recently approved comprehensive update of the open and highly flexible standard for the interchange of sports data.

Developed by the Sports Content Working Party of IPTC, which includes organisations from eight different countries, SportsML 3.0 is designed to be easy to understand and implement, and covers the full gamut of sports events. Sports Markup Language is the tech-industry standard XML vocabulary for Sports scores, lineups, schedules, standings and statistics.

SportsML has been adopted by many international news organizations, including the BBC (UK), NTB (Norway), TT (Sweden), APA (Austria), AP (USA), and more. It has been applied to results from the Olympics, European football competitions, as well as the major North American sports leagues, for team, individual and head-to-head sports.

“We’ve had 12 years of input from sports experts at news organizations since SportsML 1.0,” said Paul Kelly, Chairman of the Sports Content Working Party and Director of Software Development at XML Team Solutions, a sports-focused agency. “SportsML 3.0 addresses the requirements of anyone handling sports results and statistics and will save the time and cost of developing an in-house format. Companies can also defend against vendor lock-in caused by adopting proprietary formats.”

Highlights of the new SportsML version include the public release of 113 sports-related controlled vocabularies (CVs). “The most important thing we did was design SportsML to play well with the current generation of semantic technologies,” says Kelly. These CVs cover the statistical properties, player positions, on-field actions, infractions, etc., of 11 sports plus 37 CVs that cover all sports. These will be available publicly as a package.

These terms can be combined with SportsML 3’s new generic stat structure to incorporate both IPTC and external properties, such as those published by the IOC or any other vendor. “You can easily add new properties and continue to process gracefully using the powerful vocabulary-management the IPTC has devised,” says Kelly. “That’s usually missing from even the most prominent sports formats.”

The specification and documentation can be downloaded from Additionally, the IPTC Developer Site provides technical information about SportsML, and the SportsML Users Forum is used to share experiences and raise questions, and also connects companies, organizations and vendors.