When the National Football League's New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts take the field for their divisional playoff this weekend, fans of each team are likely to want to access team information or buy team mementos online.
This activity could cause sizable and geographically compact spikes in traffic at both teams' sites that will fade away until the next game for each team. After the season ends--barring arrests, doping revelations, or controversial player trades--spikes will become rare.
This is a far more exaggerated traffic pattern than those experienced by conventional retailers, who must gird mostly for major holidays. But even then, CIOs must decide if they're going to create permanent infrastructures that sit partially idle until a huge peak arrives. "You'd be crazy to build out for just the 10 days before Christmas," says Jeffrey Schutzman, VP of global sales and marketing for content-delivery firm Mirror Image Internet Inc.
The Patriots and Colts hired Mirror Image to provide what might be called rent-an-infrastructure. The company charges roughly 50 cents for each viewing of a high-resolution 10-minute video and $1 for every 10,000 pages served. Mirror Image guarantees 100% availability.
Mirror Image competes against many firms, including AT&T, Akamai Technologies, and Dow Jones.