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Simulated Baseball Patent For Internet, Instant Play-by-play Coverage of every Major League Baseball Game


Instant Sports Inc., has announced that founder and chairman, David R. Barstow, was awarded a new U.S. Patent for presenting live events on the World Wide Web. Instant Sports' Instant Baseball site on the World Wide Web is home to the only play-by-play baseball site on the Web.

US Patent No. 5,526,479 covers the Instant Baseball site, which provides instant play-by-play coverage of every Major League baseball game. Instant Sports is using this proprietary technology for its Instant Baseball Web site, and said it plans to use the play-by- play technology in other applications for the Internet.

At the Instant Baseball Web site, every action occurring at the ballpark, such as a pitch, hit, player change or foul ball, is reported. This patent also covers the companion feature, Java-animated Instant Ballpark. Instant Ballpark adds a simulated ballpark with players taking there positions and running the basepaths. Instant Ballpark follows the games broadcast on the Instant Baseball Web site and gives a simulated version of each pitch and hit.

"This technology recreates the experience of a live sporting event at a remote location using much less bandwidth than conventional video and audio broadcasts," said Barstow. "The process draws upon the power of today's high-end Web browsers and the Java language, which allows users to monitor multiple live events with lively, animated simulations from their home PC."

Dr. Barstow was previously awarded US Patent No. 5,189,630 for combining traditional audio or video broadcasts of live sporting events with an encoded description to provide personalized notification or replay of live events according to the viewer's preferences.

Glenn Mandel, a spokesman for Instant Sports, told Newsbytes, "According to one rating company the Instant Baseball Web site is the seventy-ninth most popular site in the world. We get over 500,000 hits every day, and our visitors tend to stay around for a while. This is important, because the service is advertiser-based, and (for the user) free. The longer the user stays on the more ads they are exposed to."

According to Mandel this is just the first of many variations that are possible with simulated play-by-play sports events. In future plans viewers could have their computer or interactive TV system monitor live sporting events for action involving their favorite player or exciting game situation while watching another TV program or working on the computer. When the game reaches a designated point of interest, customizable by team, player, action or other variables, the viewer would be notified or the system would capture personalized audio, video or animated highlights for later replay.

"I foresee these technologies profoundly influencing the future of sports broadcasting on the Internet, wireless services and interactive television," continued Barstow. "Imagine being alerted when your favorite player makes a game-winning play, and having the chance to see it, whenever you want and as many times as you want, even if you're otherwise engaged when it happened. The possibilities and consumer benefits for this technology are immense."

Internet sports simulations have a number of advantages over live broadcast. It is digital so replay is easy. Since it is digital it is easy to look at the event from different "camera" angles.

The most interesting benefit over live broadcast is that a simulation requires substantially less bandwidth than a continuous audio or video broadcast of the same event. A site can have very detailed, complex simulation and still take less bandwidth than live broadcast.


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