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Published March 8, 2010
MLB Advanced Media’s flurry of new products and advances in 2009 might be considered something of a high-profile lab experiment on the future of digital media. If so, Joe Inzerillo would be one of the chief scientists.
A key lieutenant to MLBAM chief executive Bob Bowman, Inzerillo was among the lead executives making sure all the technical codes worked and the video flowed for the wave of new initiatives. Those included an entirely rebuilt version of the MLB.TV out-of-market package, two major updates to the award-winning MLB.com At Bat mobile application — with live mobile audio and then video distribution of the entire MLB schedule to the iPhone — and a historic launch of in-market live game streaming with the New York Yankees and San Diego Padres.
Inzerillo additionally played a key role in handling the technical implementation of MLB’s instant replay system that debuted in 2008, saw its first full season of use last year, and then made its postseason entrance on an Alex Rodriguez home run during last fall’s World Series.
“For MLB.TV, there was not a single line of code that was carried over from 2008 to 2009,” Inzerillo said of one of MLBAM’s chief revenue sources that attracts roughly a half-million subscribers and more than $40 million in fees. “There was a lot of risk there, but the early tests were encouraging and showed the quality was leaps and bounds better, and that gave us a lot of confidence going forward.”
While it may seem like a frenetic sprint between MLBAM’s humble beginnings a decade ago and the constant wave of market-moving developments now, Inzerillo attributes the noted successes to the company’s original structure created by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and others, as well as a patient, methodical operating approach.
“Things like in-market really came along on their own natural flow. If we tried to tackle something like that right away, it would have been a disaster,” Inzerillo said. “All of sports have been trying to crack that nut particularly. There are still some challenges, like everything else, but we gave birth to it and are poised to see it grow.”