Case Studies

Pythian Helps Fox Sports Eliminate Time-Sensitive Delays

Company: Fox Sports – Los Angeles, CA, USA
Market: Entertainment/Media
Oracle PL/SQL
Oracle Database Server

With game day web requests exceeding 40,000 per second, response times for Fox Sports fantasy games are critical to user experience. Increasingly slow response times saw Fox Sports make the play for an effective solution.

    • Eliminated delays that were impacting thousands of Fantasy Football users
    • 1 second response time brought down from 1 minute


Fox Sports Fantasy Football and other related games are some of the world’s most played sports pool games. On game day, site traffic can reach over 40,000 requests per second. The games give sports fans the opportunity to create their own leagues and manage their own teams based on the real-world performance of the players. Sports statistics are the foundation on which players choose their team rosters. Each player in the NFL has a complete set of statistics. The Fantasy Football Player Page gives subscribers access to the entire set of players in a unified interface with their entire collection of statistics (touchdowns, running yards, passing yards, etc).

Once the web client has all this information, a subscriber can sort and compare players. When this is initiated, 1MB of data is transferred between the Fox Sports server and the end-user web client, a process that can take over a minute, delaying the time it takes to immerse a user in the full Fox Sports experience. Sixty seconds is a long time when it comes to gaming or any other web service people use today. To optimize revenue, free web games must keep their users engaged and wanting more. A slow web site or sub-optimal performance can negatively impact visitor volume and advertising revenue.


FoxSports asked Pythian to review the entire Player Page module from a high level, and then drill down to the details to determine how performance could be improved. This holistic approach gave Pythian the ability to review the application business logic, which helped them understand the application, database, web client relationship, and required performance criteria. Based on the review, Pythian recommended the application be modified to process the end-user server statistics in the Oracle database server instead of the web client. Pythian then gathered all of the business logic and worked with the developers to modify the Java UI and PL/SQL database code.


FoxSports Fantasy Football response times for the Player Page dropped from over one minute for the initial load to below one second. Java UI code was greatly simplified since much of the logic was removed. All sorting and other business requirements were rolled into a single database SQL call. Once the modifications were complete, previous delays were resolved, greatly improving end-user experience.