On Deck Cups Offers API Developers A Sporting Chance

Mark Boyd
Aug. 19 2013, 10:00AM EDT

A national hackathon event series focused on the use of sports APIs aims to strengthen the nascent growth of sports applications and technologies. On the heels of the release of recent sports data APIs like NFLData, On Deck Cup offers developers a chance to play with a wide range of sports data APIs, not always available openly.

The On Deck Cup will be held as a series of competition heats in Boston, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco from the start of September. The grand final will bring together each heat winner in a competition to be held at the On Deck West Conference on October 22.

Speaking with ProgrammableWeb, event organizer Will Flaherty from SeatGeek said there are places for up to 250 registrants at each series event, with a strong response so far. According to Flaherty, three converging trends are proving that now is the time for more developers to start creating products with sports APIs:

“People are wanting more digital consumption of sports news and data, and are interacting with the web and apps to get it. Remember, it is not that long ago that the main way people got their sports information was via the sports section of the daily newspaper. So developers can really think about how we can better display content about sports: there are lots of ways already but no one has really cracked the code yet.

Secondly, we are seeing things like ticketing and merchandising all moving to digital platforms. The secondary market around ticketing alone is huge, for example, and leads into various ways to monetize content.

Thirdly, there is a digital shift to mobile and a lot of sports applications are emerging: live game-tracking, fantasy sports competitions and even real-money sports betting.”

Some of the APIs available as resources for On Deck competitors include:

In addition, Yahoo! Sports is providing a set of fantasy sports APIs specifically for the On Deck Cup, and developers can also access resources from sports data providers Fisher Baseball, Retrosheet and Sports Reference. (Competitors are encouraged to read advice of previous hackathon winners about how best to review an API when entering a competition.)

Speaking about the list of API providers involved, Will Flaherty said:

“We’re working every day to build this list out. Sports Data, for example, offers the bread-and-butter data of who played, who won, who got injured, scores… it’s a really neat company. They are competing in a space with a couple of legacy players and are providing stats as they happen. They have a developer-focused approach and a really robust API. We’re excited to have them on board and it will be an API that a lot of competitors will utilize.”

Developers can register online to compete in the On Deck Cup. The first competition will be held in Boston on September 7-8. In addition to indvidual prizes at each event, the winner of each round will also be flown to San Francisco to compete against other winners on October 22.

Mark Boyd is a ProgrammableWeb writer covering breaking news, API business strategies and models, open data, and smart cities. I can be contacted via email, on Twitter, or on Google+.

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