December 7th, 2009

Bloomberg Steps to the Statistical Plate

Monday, December 7th, 2009

For most of us on the outside, the central focus of Major League Baseball’s winter meetings tends to be the chatter about potential trades and free-agent signings. From a business standpoint, however, another angle only mildly related to actual players threatens to cool the hot stove.

At those meetings this week, financial software giant Bloomberg is unveiling its foray into baseball statistics, developing advanced statistical tools that it plans to market to various potential customers.

The New York Times writeup from Saturday leads off with the company’s desire to market its new baseball platform to major-league teams, and, certainly, it would be pretty big for a company to sell its software to all or even most of MLB. But …

“If they convince all 30 teams to pay $50,000 each, that’s $1.5 million,” said John Dewan, the owner of Baseball Info Solutions, which sells software that analyzes fielding to about half the major league teams, told the N.Y. Times. “Is that big enough? It’s nice for a small company. For a big company? I don’t think they’ll get the return they want.”

Although Bloomberg president Daniel Doctoroff brushes off such questions by saying that not every pursuit “has to be huge,” it’s a valid question. The answer just might lie in fantasy and the related growing thirst for advanced statistical analysis.’s Maury Brown reports that he has been told “the consumer version for fantasy baseball management” will be central to Bloomberg’s effort and will run for about $30. The company has also struck a deal with, which hopes that the Bloomberg platform will lure fantasy players from the popular sites at which they currently play.

Add those components to the team-directed software, and the potential return grows quite a bit. And to read the Times story, Bloomberg doesn’t envision baseball as a boundary but a launching pad to a sports wing with potentially global aspirations.

The media is due to get a look at these new applications on Wednesday, so we’ll see what the first reviews say.