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Worldwide Sports Data Language Is Launched

New York, NY, USA. November 8, 2002.

A new computer language to describe sports results was released to the public at the "Sports Media & Technology" trade show here.

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.

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.

The IPTC approved SportsML version 1.0 draft at its October meeting in Amsterdam. Final ratification of the standard is expected at the next regular IPTC meeting in March 2003 in Nice, France. Members of the IPTC include: The Associated Press, UPI, Reuters, The New York Times, Agence France-Presse, Deutsche Press-Agentur, Reuters, Sweden's Tidningarnas Telegrambyra, and Pinnacor (formerly Screaming Media).

At the autumn 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

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. See: "SportsML."

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