Coming to a City Near YouWhen I was a kid I always felt sorry for people who lived in places that didn’t have professional sports teams. Growing up here in Dallas, there wasn’t a season of the year that I didn’t have someone to root for. During the summer I had the Rangers for baseball, fall, of course, was all about the Cowboys and Mavericks basketball occupied my winters. On top of that, when I was a little older, we even got a hockey team in the form of the Dallas Stars. Unfortunately, while my professional sports cup runneth over, there were kids in places like Montana, Wyoming and Kentucky who could only root for teams they arbitrarily selected in cities far, far away. Maybe it’s just me, but I always felt bad that some poor kid in Cheyenne had to root for the Yankees—no one should have to do that—because he had no local team to provide box scores that he could pore over while wolfing down his morning’s Captain Crunch. I guess my athletic empathy is why I couldn’t help but notice that Major League Baseball is going to locate a streaming center in Omaha, Nebraska.

Perhaps the most important thing about technological advancement is that it can be one of the great levelers in society. Radio enabled us to listen to events that took place far across the globe, television let us see them, and iPods allowed us to privately listen to Adele without having our manhood questioned. And now, through the miracle of the modern data center, a young, tow headed, raw boned, American kid from the Cornhusker State doesn’t just have his own local team, but both the American and National Leagues housed within 8,000 square feet of raised floor right there in the county seat of Douglas county. While it’s a little difficult to root for a building, for the team deprived sports fan this is a gift from the gods.

 With the proliferation of data centers, including into non-traditional markets –made possible by companies like Compass (Sorry, I couldn’t resist. This is my blog after all). Youngsters all across the nation now have the prospect of having their own virtual sports centers in their own towns. If Omaha, can have pro baseball is it outrageous for the kid in Burlington, Vermont, to hope that the NBA selects his hometown for a disaster recovery site? Maybe this isn’t the way that most of us foresaw the big four sports leagues extending their reach, but this is the 21st century, and kids are different these days.

This new phenomena of sports by data center thing probably is better geared toward today’s on-line child. Rather than actually going to the ballpark or stadium to watch a game in person, they can stream their team’s clash with a hated rival from the comfort of their own bedroom while tweeting about it with friends. Sure there isn’t some guy roving through the stands selling hot dogs, pop corn and pop but isn’t that what Mom is for anyway? And unlike the things that we argued over when in our youth, like if Nolan Ryan was actually trying to kill Robin Ventura when he charged the mound, these kids can battle over more substantive things like “my data center has lower latency than yours” or why a PUE of 1.3 in Knoxville is actually better than a 1.18 in Boise when you factor in the climate differences.

The beauty of sports is that it has always been something that cuts across generations. A grandfather could regale his grandkids with stories of Stan Musial or Bart Starr, and they could argue back and forth about how those old guys couldn’t hold a candle to their more contemporary counterparts while everyone felt like they were on equal ground. Now the data center has extended the reach of professional sports to locales that formerly could only imagine what it would be like to have a pro team of their own. Sure we all want the big financial services customer, but isn’t the ability of our industry bring the MLB to Omaha really what makes us get up and come to work in the morning? Now if you’ll excuse me, my son and I are going to watch the stream of the Rangers game together. Pass the peanuts, please.

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