How the NFL Scheduled 272 Football Games Using 4,000 Virtual AWS Servers (amazon.com)
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Long-time Slashdot reader theodp writes:
AWS offered A Look Inside the Making of an NFL Football Schedule in conjunction with Thursday’s release of the 2023 NFL Schedule Powered by AWS. AWS notes that producing the schedule required the use of 4,000+ AWS EC2 Spot Instances. An AWS promotional video claims they “saved the NFL an estimated $2 million each season” by leveraging AWS Spot Instances for a discount of up to 90% off compared to AWS On-Demand pricing..
“In just three months,” AWS explains, “National Football League (NFL) schedule makers methodically build an exciting 18 week 272-game schedule spanning 576 possible game windows.” Up until 10 years ago, AWS notes in an accompanying infographic, the NFL used a white-boarding process to manually craft its schedule.
Not to diminish the NFL’s and AWS’s 2023 scheduling achievement, but the 2013 documentary The Schedule Makers told the remarkable tale of the husband-and-wife duo of Henry and Holly Stephenson, who for almost a quarter of a century in the pre-Cloud era managed the scheduling for 30 Major League Baseball (MLB) teams who each played 162 regular season games a year. According to the May 1985 Atari Compendium (pg. 38), the Stephensons were using a self-written program running on a 64K IMS-8000 to help schedule games for the MLB (2,106 games over a 6-month season), NBA, and NASL/MISL (defunct soccer leagues). So perhaps the NFL’s claim that “There’s no way the NFL could deliver the quality of schedule that we put out every year for our fans and television partners without the contributions of our friends at AWS” should be taken with a grain of salt.