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IPTC Approves SportsML Version 1.0

Worldwide Sports Data Language is Launched

Washington, DC, USA. May 15, 2003.

A new computer language to describe sports results has been given final approval by a worldwide consortium of news organizations.

Sports Markup Language, or SportsML, is a standard created by the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC), an association of the world's major news agencies.

Plans to integrate SportsML into mainstream news feeds were discussed at an IPTC meeting in Washington, D.C., on May 1, 2003. This followed formal ratification of the standard at the regular spring 2003 IPTC meeting in Nice, France.

SportsML breaks sports data into bite-sized pieces and allows publishers to completely describe the how, what, when, where and why of sports. Documents in SportsML can be as simple or as complex as needed, drawing from a wide range of available descriptions for sports scores, schedules, standings and statistics.

Team and player names, results, standings and other important information are handled in a standardized way, greatly reducing the tedious editing process that is often required to prepare sports results for publication. League data can also be stored in SportsML, making standings and playoff results easier to handle.

In Washington, members decided to more tightly integrate SportsML with other IPTC standards, making it easier to install and maintain applications that use SportsML. The final version of SportsML and supporting documents is now available at no cost on the IPTC's web site.

Members of the IPTC include The Associated Press, Reuters, The New York Times, Agence France-Presse, Deutsche Press-Agentur, Reuters, Sweden's Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå, and Pinnacor (formerly ScreamingMedia).

At an autumn 2002 meeting in Amsterdam, The New York Times announced its support for SportsML. "The newspaper industry has been waiting years for something like SportsML," said Walter Baranger of The New York Times. "We expect to use it as soon as it is available from our sports data services."

" SportsML's goal is to expand opportunities for interactive sports publishing, making it less expensive to produce and manage data, and easier to create compelling sports applications," said Alan Karben of Pinnacor, chairman of the SportsML initiative.

SportsML is a dialect of a worldwide standard formatting language known as XML, and its data can be easily exported to hand-held devices, the World Wide Web, newspaper publishing systems, or sports archives. As a part of the XML programming family, SportsML adheres to benchmarks set down by W3C, the organization that sets the standards for the World Wide Web.

The SportsML support and information web site is


Michael Steidl
IPTC Managing Director
Tel: +44 1753 705051


References for IPTC Markup Languages:

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive.

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