These Canucks are on a real Pointstreak
Bob Elliott, Toronto Sun
First Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2011
TORONTO - Sports broadcasters and writers are attached to nightly stat sheets like recovering hospital patients to IVs.
When Pointstreak Sport Technologies began putting out baseball statistics it listed a pitcher’s earned run average in the far right hand column.
Normally, the ERA is in the first column on the left.
“We heard about that,” said Paul Pettipiece. “It was like ‘what do these Canadian guys know about baseball?’ We battle that all the time.”
Pointstreak is winning the battle, gaining the rights to track hits, runs, errors and every other stat.
Pettipiece, the vice-president of baseball operations, has an office in Dorchester, Ont. (near London), and another in Richmond Hill.
CEO Scott Secord and Pettipiece are a couple of ‘tech guys’ from Chatham, Ont., who have made inroads keeping stats.
Pointstreak was founded by Aaron Bishop, Gregg Sayer and Dominik Szopa, who played rec hockey in British Columbia.
They thought if real time information could be found for the stock market, why not sports?
“Hockey was a natural, then we did a lacrosse platform next,” Secord said. “With the new wave of scouting in baseball our guys thought it would be a sport we could do from a statistical stand point.”
A baseball scoring software program was purchased in Seattle and it took a year to build out the Pointstreak program.
“Baseball has taken our business to the next level,” Secord said. “The sport is perfect for our flash application. I’d been involved in hockey all my life and didn’t see the massive participation.”
Basically Pointstreak has replaced Howe Sports Bureau.
The Elias Sports Bureau is the official statistician of Major League Baseball, while MLBAM is the record keeper for minor league ball.
Pointstreak has almost everyone else:
Seven independent loops — American Association, Atlantic, CanAm, Frontier, Golden, Northern and United leagues — who operated in 2010, 12 college summer leagues, including the Cape Cod and Northwoods leagues, and amateur sites from the Baseball Canada national championships to the B.C. Premier League, the Intercounty, the Canadian College Baseball Conference and the Eastern Canadian Premier League.
Pointstreak’s first full season in baseball was 2009.
It’s possible to follow a game live on the up-to-date box score, the game tracker and TV.
To amateur and sandlot teams Pointstreak charge on a per team basis, trying to keep the cost at roughly $5 per player — the cost of a post-game beer for adults.
Prices are higher for independent and summer leagues.
Teams with a video feeds are able to integrate with Pointstreak’s scoring application.
“As soon as the official scorer inputs a home run we can put that into our Game Live program and publish in less than a minute to anyone following the game,” Pettipiece said. “You could be at an airport and see your son’s home run.”
The Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., was a bonanza for the web site.
Most games were averaging 2,000 hits per game — that’s on the site, not hits allowed — until an afternoon match-up between Texas and Minnesota peaked at 35,000. A later game hit 55,000 and the total for the week was 1.5 million.
Pointstreak began as a hockey company in 2000 and now carries stats for the International League, the OHA, NCAA hockey and beer leagues — that’s 2,000 leagues around the world.
“Everything but the NHL,” Pettipiece says.
Pointstreak works with the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau providing video of each goal and feeds stats leading up to the draft. Should a team want, it can call up every goal a prospect has scored.
Currently Pointstreak is sending digital feeds to four major-league teams — the New York Yankees first into the pool, Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox — on a daily basis.
“We could sell this data, but we give it to them now,” Pettipiece said.
Reaching south it provides the info for the annual National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kan.
“The Northwoods college league with a team in Thunder Bay was our very first college league,” Pettipiece said, “Cape Cod helped put us on the map.”
And the world continues to expand.
A couple of years ago Secord had 32 employees. Now the staff numbers 70.
His company signed to track all high school sports in the state of Texas from baseball to football to you name it. Now they have a 12-person staff in Austin, Tex.
“I went for one football game under the Friday Night Lights,” Secord said. “It’s a world of difference, 17,000 fans ... private boxes.”
And those not there are logging onto Pointstreak to keep track.