Live From Your Mobile Device: Super Bowl XLVI

02.10.2012

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By Clinton Sprauve, Director of Product Marketing & Strategy for Micro Focus

Lately, we’ve been seeing more televised events come with an online streaming counterpart, and last Sunday’s Super Bowl was no different.

For the two-week period leading up to the game, ESPN announcers and avid football fans alike called this head-to-head battle ‘the rematch of the century’. The football gods aligned and allowed Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to have their four-year-in-the-making rematch to finally see if Eli Manning’s 2007 Hail Mary game-winning pass was just a fluke – or a testament to the fact that heroes are made under pressure.

All eyes were on Gronkowski’s ankle, Wes Welker’s stature, the entire Manning clan – and bets were being placed on whether Gisele even knew what the Super Bowl was. And when I say all eyes, I’m completely serious.

The 2012 Super Bowl set a record as the most-watched TV show in U.S. history. It’s estimated that 111.3 million people tuned in to watch the New York Giants take down the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. But what’s even more interesting is that this was the first year that the NFL streamed the game live on both nfl.com and nbcsports.com. The streams were available for free and offered fans the option of switching between different camera angles and feeds.

It’s estimated that anywhere from 1.057 million to 1.585 million people watched the live stream on their computers, smartphones and tablets. This made this year’s Super Bowl one of the most popular live streamed events the Internet has seen to-date (falling short to the Royal Wedding).

Giants’ fans should not only be praising Eli Manning’s pass to Mario Manninghim, but the NFL and NBC’s network infrastructure for withstanding the weight of users, allowing them to seamlessly stream the game on their mobile devices without experiencing  a website outage.

A number of very high profile brands experienced website outages in the past year alone – take Target, Bank of America and Netflix, for example – which collectively led to prolonged disruptions for millions of users who were denied service for several hours. This led to not only unhappy customers, but negative press that still continues to surface. Just think if this happened during the most watched and streamed sporting event in the past three years, advertising dollars would have gone down the drain, the NFL and NBC would have had to explain themselves more than M.I.A.’s ‘finger slip’ and fans across the nation would have been left more clueless than Chad Ochocinco.

The success of the NFL and NBC’s infrastructure is a testament to the strength of the Internet and should be a reminder to organizations of the importance of network testing and monitoring prior to any live-streamed event. Whether it’s the London Olympics or the previously discussed 2012 Presidential Election – ensuring that websites are optimized to perform at touchdown-worthy levels is critical, because all heroes are made under pressure.

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