I am a huge fan of what is often referred to as “The Beautiful Game”. This game I am referring to is also known as soccer (aka football outside of North America). I have season tickets to my local Major League Soccer team (Go Revolution!) and take any chance I get to see great teams play in great stadiums. I have seen El Classico in the Camp Nou (where Real beat Barcelona 3-0) and watched the English, Italian, Spanish, Portugese, Brazilian, and many other national teams play around the world.
But the World Cup is a very special tournament. It is played out on a global scale that exceeds even the Olympics in terms of interest (especially if your country is in the tournament!). I have been in travelling through Asia for the beginning of this year’s tournament and several of the countries have a dedicated World Cup channel available in the hotel, not to mention massive setups at local pubs and bars to capitalize on the interest.
The World Cup is also very local, shining a spotlight on the host country. It is a heavily courted tournament, with many countries around the world vying to be the host nation for an upcoming World Cup tournament. For 2014, the spotlight has been shone on Brazil. Along with this spotlight, the host nation also receives all the positive and negative press surrounding the preparation of the games. It begs the question - are the local Brazilians watching the World Cup outside the stadiums? Especially online or on mobile devices?
The answer is an unqualified yes. In addition to the high TV ratings and fan-filled stadiums, Brazilians are using the Internet to supplement (or in some cases, as their only source of) their World Cup Experience. We have a mobile operator customer in Brazil and the trend for Brazilian traffic has steadily increased as the World Cup approached. Some of that is from existing subscribers, some is from pre-paid SIM cards that visitors purchased (due to otherwise expensive roaming).
For example, during the first Brazil game (which was a holiday in Brazil), the video streaming traffic grew more than3Xthan normal for the World Cup streaming provider in Brazil. On June 13th, Day 2, World Cup mobile traffic rates more than doubled that for the Holland/Spain match as demonstrated in the chart below. This highly touted rematch of the 2010 World Cup championship match certainly proved to be popular for network traffic!
The traffic is remaining consistently high for streaming media during the game time hours. But what about the overall video streaming rates? Many consumers will check news sites, YouTube, or other sites to get their video fix from the World Cup – often to get replays of goals or game highlights. That type of traffic also has increased, however the peak usage is not substantially different. It is the sustained usage during the games that is significantly higher than normal rates, which peak at various times during the day and then drop back off.
Web Browsing is also higher during the event (although not at the same level as the increase in video streaming), as many people in Brazil are reading news sites and recap sites for games that they may not get to see live:
This specific customer is coping well with the traffic demands of the World Cup and we expect to see the levels grow as the Cup goes on and the focus shifts to the higher profile games of the knock-out round. I know I will be watching! We will also take a look at what is happening in other places around the world as well. Stay tuned to Procera for more World Cup coverage as the tournament continues!