NBA video archives stored in nuclear-proof bunker

The NBA keeps video archives of its games in an indestructible New Jersey bunker, designed to withstand a nuclear explosion. This interesting news is courtesy of Ben Cohen of The Wall Street Journal [subscription required]. Cohen reports that the NBA, along with other sports leagues, has a deep interest in preserving its records in the safest manner possible, thus the location being professionally monitored and controlled by the environment.

Cohen reports that every imaginable inch of footage can be found in the underground facility:

Rare footage of Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and today’s highlights of LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and Giannis Antetokounmpo share an unlikely home 50 feet underground. The facility, built in the 1960s by AT&T, is now operated by a data protection and disaster recovery company called Vital Records, Inc. It stores millions of tape cartridges in a tightly controlled and intensely monitored environment, destined to survive when nothing else does.

The league does not operate any differently from other companies in its preservation efforts. Its repository is simply more interesting than most.

The irreplaceable NBA corporate archives happen to be the world’s largest collection of basketball highlights, which is why there are backup copies in an indestructible repository, a common practice for sports leagues that preserve their story in a place they hope will never be useful. “Everyone’s doing it,” Riemann said. “It’s just that no one knows.”

Cohen also reports that the NBA has updated its archiving system to allow ease of access, an invaluable practice in a high-demand, digitally-oriented environment:

Any game involving any team from almost any game is now automatically coded with game-by-game stats, indexed and with just a few clicks. “In one or two clicks,” said Chris Halton, senior vice president of technology and media operations for the NBA, “you’re literally watching the video.”

You can read more about the details of the bunker and its reasoning in Cohen’s article.

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