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A Space for the Oakland Raiders

2:55 PM -- Like many organizations these days, the National Football League's Oakland Raiders rents data center space. Since 2002, it's been using square footage from 365 Main Inc., a San Francisco-based company that's just gone national with IT real estate. (See 365 Main.)

The team uses the space primarily for its Website, which gets 77 million hits annually, according to Tom Blanda, director of finance and technology for the team. "We have a server room at our headquarters, but we don't have the bandwidth to accommodate the number of visitors that come to our site," says Blanda (no relation to former Raiders Hall of Famer George Blanda).

Of course, you wouldn't expect Raiders owner Al Davis to let important information such as scouting reports and game plans venture offsite. And he doesn't. The team keeps that information at headquarters. "All the information that we want the general public to get access to -- our Website -- is held at 365 Main," Blanda says. "Everything that is proprietary or guarded, we keep at our headquarters. It's easier to keep the two separate."

Besides providing the bandwidth to keep the site running, 365 Main saves the Raiders from having to expand their onsite IT operations. "If you stack another layer onto what we already have, we would probably have a space problem, a power problem, and a cooling problem," he says. "Our server room is already maxed out with football operations, like digital video for the coaches to analyze plays."

Just because 365 Main doesn't keep the coaches' precious video and scouting reports doesn't mean that data's not important. Like most pro sports teams, the Raiders consider their site a key means of communicating with fans. The Raiders take their site seriously enough to have four different language versions: English, Spanish, German, and Chinese. They also make money off the site by selling merchandise and advertising, so downtime costs money.

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