World Cup Breaks Streaming Sports Records


Sports fans have been celebrating new technology for over a century. It seems as if they’re one of the first groups to really capitalize and figure out ways to benefit from each new advancement. Many times, this is one of the best spots for investors to go to understand how new technology can be implemented in day-to-day use.

Streaming Sports Improves and Expands

We’ll look back in a decade or so and realize that 2014 was definitely the year of streaming sports live on mobile devices and computers.

Akamai, an Internet content delivery network based out of Cambridge, Massachusetts, announced that the combined World Cup matches between the U.S. and Germany, along with Portugal and Ghana, ended up causing a historic spike in Internet traffic of 6.84 Tbps.

Streaming Sports on VerizonMy theory on that is that since both games happened in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday, and both games had an impact on whether or not the U.S. would make it to the knockout round, employees all over the country were watching it on their computers or cell phones at work.

Interestingly, the semifinal match a couple weeks later on July 9 (at 4pm ET) between Netherlands and Argentina beat the previous Internet record, peaking at 6.87 Tbps in Internet traffic. The championship game between Argentina and Germany maxed out at 6.62 Tbps, but since it was on a Sunday, most people that wanted to watch it were able to on their televisions, rather than going to their computers or mobile devices.

Before the 2014 World Cup, it was the Sochi Winter Olympic Games that held the Internet traffic record, with a highest traffic peak of 2.5 Tbps when the U.S. faced the Czech Republic and Latvia faced Canada in the hockey quarterfinals.

The London Summer Olympic Games in 2012 was the highest before that, with just 873 Gbps during the men’s 100-meter final.

In just two years, sports has forced IT departments and Internet Service Providers to support traffic peaks never before seen. From the summer of 2012, the traffic peak record went from 873 Gbps up to 6.84 Tbps – a 784-percent increase.

According to Verizon, 79.3 percent of streams through their service came from mobile devices, with Apple’s iPhone leading them all with 39.5 percent of that group. Just 15.2 percent of streamers watched through their computers.

Sports Fans, Streaming Sports and Technology

Going back to the 20th century, we can see how sports fans were early adopters.

— Fans hours away from a stadium got to listen to their games through a.m. stations.

— A couple decades later, we got to watch games live through our black and white televisions (and then color).

— Satellite TV allowed people to watch sports from all over the world.

— Cable TV brought us a 24-hour sports channel.

— Cell phones gave fans a chance to call in to sports talk radio stations to voice their opinions.

— The Internet connected us with instant sports news and scores.

— Small Satellite TV dishes gave us the NFL Sunday Ticket, giving fans outside the blackout areas the opportunity to watch every NFL game, no matter where they lived.

— Developers brought Fantasy Football to the Internet, allowing people to connect to the NFL in a way they never had before.

— Mobile phones with Internet service brought us live scores and sports news no matter where we are.

— High Speed Internet brought us live streaming, so fans could watch live games on their computers.

— Twitter connected sports fans to athletes and sports media members in a way no one had ever seen before.

— Smartphones gave everyone a chance to watch live games and discover streaming sports news and videos from around the world.

What’s next for streaming sports fans? The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio will likely break all records again – even if something between now and then breaks the World Cup numbers.