Posted by: Brian Eastwood
On the face of it, Silverlight and sports Web sites complement each other nicely. In fact, Silverlight is a part of both MLB.com and NBA.com, the respective sites for North America’s major baseball and basketball leagues. There’s also WWE.com, the site for World Wrestling Entertainment. (Insert debate about professional wrestling as a sport here.)
The RIA framework gives these sites embedded video, real-time statistics and, for those purchasing tickets, 3D diagrams that show users where to find their seats and how close to the court or field they will be sitting — features without which few diehard fans could survive.
So Microsoft’s announcement that NBC Universal will use Silverlight 2.0 to power its 2008 Summer Olympics site is not a huge surprise.
Nonetheless, it is impressive, especially given the scale. The site will feature 3,000 hours of live and on-demand video coverage, Soma Somasegar indicates in the above blog entry. Each video will contain quite a bit of metadata, too, ranging from player bios to maps of the venues where the event is taking place.
One point of interest here, which Somasegar did not address, is performance. NBC Olympics can expect massive traffic as the Olympics go on. (Games run Aug. 6-24, with the opening ceremony beginning Aug. 8.) It will be interesting to see how Silverlight 2.0 handles what very well could be millions of requests from viewers across the globe.
Mind you, any Rich Internet Application would face that kind of scrutiny, but Silverlight is the proverbial new kid on the block — and you can bet Microsoft wants it to end up like Mark Wahlberg and not Jordan Knight.