NFL insiders recently predicted that a partnership between the National Football League and an online streaming provider is the future of football viewership. In fact, in an interview with NBC Sports, Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwell said, “There’s no doubt it’s coming. The question is how we transition into it. What we need to do is do a great job of listening to our fans about how they want to consume NFL content. Our fans are switching to digital, they’re switching to handheld and mobile devices, and we want to respond to that.”
The NFL’s inaugural global live stream occurred last season on Yahoo with nearly 34 million subscribers viewing the Sunday morning game between the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars. According to an industry study of that historic digital event conducted by data analytics company OpenVault, even with only a percentage of Yahoo’s billion users viewing the game, the impact on data consumption was significant and very telling of what’s to come for live sports streaming. OpenVault, the leading provider of broadband management and industry analytics, reported game time statistics that reflected an average increase of nearly 20% in data consumption across its global customer base as compared to normal Sunday usage.
With 10 Thursday night football games planned to stream on Twitter this upcoming season, there will certainly be an impact on the network planning and the budgeting process for broadband providers to keep up with the increased demand.
So as the NFL players return to the field for training camp this summer, broadband providers must be performing the proper network planning in order to continue to deliver a high-quality experience for their sports-loving subscribers. It’s imperative for providers to get out in front of the growing demand for live streaming, particularly popular sporting events.