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  (Note: the IBM iSeries eServer was called the IBM AS/400 when this article was written.)

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Strategic hits a Home Run with ScoreBook.com

ScoreBook.com is a free LANSA based Web service for managing amateur sports leagues. It gives sports leagues a central place to manage their operations. Leagues get a free Web site where uploaded pictures and logos, team messages and player rosters form the core of the team Web page. League managers can schedule games, record results, maintain league positions and document highlights with action photos. All this is done dynamically without the need for Web design or programming. 

The mastermind behind ScoreBook.com is amateur baseball league owner and sports enthusiast Mitch Miles. He approached Strategic Business Systems, a LANSA Solution Partner and IBM Business Partner, with the ScoreBook.com idea. Strategic agreed to fund startup costs for staffing and technology.

John Myers, president of Strategic Business Systems and ScoreBook.com corporate director says, "ScoreBook.com's long-term goal is to provide the only truly multilingual, state-of-the-art league and team management tools on the Web. We intend to become a true global online community for the many millions of sports participants worldwide."

The Challenge

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Mitch, now a director of ScoreBook.com, explains how the idea came about. "For years I've been managing three baseball leagues by myself. I did all the scheduling manually, input all the game results and set up all the players using Excel spreadsheets. I had stacks of paper spreadsheets. It was almost a full time job. I realized I was not the only one going blind sitting for hours inputting this stuff for multiple leagues." 

"Participation in amateur sports is at an all-time high. In the United States alone, over 17 million people participate in amateur baseball and over 30 million people play basketball. Worldwide, over 120 million people play professional or amateur soccer. It seemed to me that the Internet would be a good way for team managers to share the workload."

"I envisioned a Web based service providing not just the best league management tools, but also a way of creating a slick-looking site without having to know anything about making Web pages. I approached Strategic Business Systems because they had a proven record of success with Internet systems to turn this vision into reality."

John Myers continues "Our employees thought it was such a good idea, that they wanted to invest personally if we didn't as a company. The whole idea behind ScoreBook is to give amateur leagues, which typically lack the resources and finances to host their own Web sites, a way to get online and provide information to players and fans."

The Solution

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Example Team Home Page
Example Team Home Page

"ScoreBook.com is a variation on the Business-to-Consumer Internet business model," says John. Instead of selling products over the Internet, we're providing a service."

"We decided to use LANSA for the Web, because this tool had proven itself already in many of our other projects. The LANSA repository allows us to define data elements in multiple languages, rather than having to create Web pages in multiple languages. LANSA dynamically serves the Web pages in the defined languages."

"With LANSA for the Web, the pieces fit together easily and it took us only three months to develop site."

"Our developers worked with our graphic designers to come up with a fast-loading, attractive user interface. This interface was used in the LANSA Templates, which generated our systems functions. That is why the pages have a consistent look-and-feel."

"ScoreBook.com runs on an IBM iSeries Model 270 eServer. The iSeries is the heart of our organization. As a Web server it offers unparalleled reliability, which is critical in ensuring effective 24 x 7 operation of a worldwide site."

"The scalability of the iSeries and LANSA will make it easy to grow ScoreBook's infrastructure as the ScoreBook community grows, without having to rewrite any code."

The Benefits

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"League managers can accomplish all their management functions from the ScoreBook.com site, including communicating with team managers and players, setting up game schedules, recording and publishing game results, keeping player statistics and determining team standings and league leaders."

"I still manage three baseball leagues, but now I only spend a fraction of the time that I used to."

"I still manage three baseball leagues, but now I only spend a fraction of the time that I used to. It is so much easier with ScoreBook," says Mitch

Example League Home Page
Example League Home Page

David Obermeyer, of the New York State Section 9 wrestling league, says, "Right now, half the kids on the team are interested in the site, but when Iím able to post their individual statistics and individual photos, thereís an ego thing. Iím sure theyíll want to check the site all the time."

Jeff Parrott, a junior roller hockey team manager, comments, "The site has boosted the image of our team. We have our own smart looking home page with logos and photos of our victorious moments. The kids are proud of their club and show the site to their friends. As a result we get more enrollments requests and now have four junior-A teams. A large pool of talent."

"The smaller kids donít always remember to tell their parents about changes in training and game schedules. I used to send notes home to the parents, but notes get lost. So I got a lot of phone inquiries from parents, especially in the weekends. Now parents can simply visit our Web site and my phone doesnít ring so often anymore."

John says, "With so many sport enthusiasts visiting our site we have created an excellent medium for targeted advertising. We expect to make money from ad revenue, but a dot.com startup canít survive on ads alone. The league Web sites will continue to be offered at no charge, but we are launching a new payable service for teams that will include:

  • A personal player web page with pictures & lifetime statistics 
  • A player "baseball card" with picture & statistics that can be downloaded (as an Adobe Acrobat file) & printed on a color printer 
  • Links from league leader boards to personal player web pages 
  • Team statistics on team home page and links to player pages 
  • Box scores in game results 

The first sports to be offered this service will be baseball and softball, as they are the most statistically driven sports. We will add other sports to the service as justified. As our community grows, we will be adding additional revenue generating services for our members."

Conclusion

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"A Web project with this kind of worldwide scope demands a development environment that can generate dynamic pages quickly and seamlessly and handle multilingual development without re-coding. LANSA and the AS/400 meet this challenge," concludes John. 

"To hand-code the HTML, Java script, and CGI programs required for this sort of functionality could take years. With LANSA for the Web, the pieces fit together easily and it took us only three months to develop the first release of the site."

ScoreBook Logo

Company and System Information

  • Strategic Business Systems, is a LANSA Solution Partner and an IBM Business Partner in Ramsey, New Jersey. Strategic has been providing information systems solutions since 1982 and is a prominent systems supplier to the motor vehicle industry, as well as a leading provider of Internet solutions across industries. Strategic customers include Harley-Davidson, Hummer, BMW, Saab, Ducati, Land Rover, KTM Sportmotorcycles, Mikasa, Goya Foods, MCS Canon, New Jersey Carpenters Pension Fund, Donna Karan, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and many more prestigious names. For more information visit www.sbsusa.com

Strategic Business Systems Logo

 

  • Strategic hosts the ScoreBook site on an iSeries 270 housed at the companyís headquarters. The box also runs other Strategic applications and ScoreBook uses a just small percentage of the its processing power and memory. Because LPAR isnít available on the 270 to separate the different apps into their own partitions, Strategic isolates the apps using libraries and a firewall that restricts access to specific applications.

 

 Copyright © The LANSA Group Last Updated April 09, 2001

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