09 Jul 2018

World Cup breaks records and proves that streaming is the future

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More people have watched this tournament online than ever before More people have watched this tournament online than ever before Shutterstock

Apologies to those suffering from World Cup fatigue but, with the month-long tournament approaching its business end, it is breaking all records for the most streamed television event ever.

In many ways the popularity of streaming at this year’s soccer World Cup is not much of a surprise. Track back through the figures and each of the major global sporting events — which essentially boil down to the World Cup and the Olympics — have seen more people streaming them each time they occur.

One of the major Content Delivery Networks seeing World Cup coverage cross its servers, Akamai, has made it something of a tradition to collate the figures over the years. And it has revealed that this year’s tournament had already surpassed the total figure from the Rio 2014 World Cup four years ago by its tenth day.

In fact, various comparisons between this World Cup and previous large sporting occasions provide an impressive perspective on the sheer amount of data being viewed online.

After two days, Akamai had delivered more data than it did in total from the South Africa World Cup in 2010.

After three days, Akamai had delivered more data than it did in total from the whole of the London Olympic Games in 2012

After four days, Akamai had delivered more data than it did in total from the whole of the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.

And, after ten days, Akamai had delivered more data than it did in total from the whole of the Rio World Cup in 2014.

Peak bandwidth

Peak bandwidth and concurrent stream records have also tumbled, at least in the soccer world. So far the most number of concurrent streams from the tournament has been 9.7 million as Mexico played Sweden at the same time as South Korea lined up against Germany. This compares to a viewing peak of 5 million for the entire tournament in Rio (which also occurred when two games were played at the same time). Meanwhile, the peak bandwidth for streaming in the first round in Russia has been 23.8Tbps, compared with a comparatively meagre 6.99Tbps at Rio. 

In fact, says Akamai, 75% of all matches played in the first round in Russia have exceeded the peak bandwidth for the entire tournament in Rio.

The only record that has yet to fall in Russia is that of most watched streaming event; the cricket-obsessed population of India clocking up 10.3 million individual streams for an India Premier League cricket match earlier this year. The way things are going though, it would be no surprise at all if the Russian World Cup figures topped that.

They key takeaway from all this? Make sure your content works on mobile, basically. While there will always be a role for large screens, whether truly huge in cinemas or impressively large in the domestic environment, more and more content is being watched in the palm of the hand.

Main image: shutterstock.com


Andy Stout

Andy has spent over two decades writing about all aspects of the broadcast and film industries for a variety of high-profile industry publications on both sides of the Atlantic. During that time the industry has moved from 4:3 SD to 16:9 SD to HD and now on to 4K HDR. He's getting kind of curious to see where it goes next.

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