SBJ/20100308/Forty Under 40

Joe Inzerillo

 

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.

Joe
Inzerillo
MLB Advanced Media

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.

Age: 37
Title: Senior vice president, multimedia and distribution
Company: Major League Baseball Advanced Media
Education: Studied electrical engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology
Family: Single
Career: 23rd season in Major League Baseball; started with the Chicago White Sox part-time in 1987; former chief technology officer of the United Center
Last vacation: Whats a vacation? Before I joined MLB.com four years ago
Favorite book: "Rendezvous with Rama," by Arthur C. Clarke
Favorite movie: "Gattaca"
What’s on your iPod? The Killers, Moby, Johnny Cash, Miles Davis
Pet peeve: Rudeness
Greatest achievement: Implementing instant replay on an impossible timeline
Greatest disappointment: Not being with the White Sox for the World Series in 2005 (I was working with MLB.com at the time).
Fantasy job: Hollywood prop/special effects builder
Executives you most admire: Larry Ellison and Steve Jobs
Business advice: Never be afraid to hire someone who might be better than you. You are only as good as the people who work for you.

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.”

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