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I just returned from a trip to IEEE CQR Conference (http://www.ieee-cqr.org/), where a lot of this year's discussion was around offering quality and reliability for large-scale sporting events. The focus was largely around the preparations and delivery of voice, video, and data services to Olympic Villages during the previous Vancouver Olympics, and some future thoughts around delivering the same for 2012 London Olympics, the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and the 2016 Rio Olympics. A noticeable missing presentation was around the 2010 FIFA World Cup, but I expect this is largely due to the time constraints given that the World Cup is already in full-swing (with a very noticeable dominance by Germany early-on).
While statistics for the entire coverage are available, the interesting stats to consider are the mobile ones...
NBC Universal numbers released shortly after the Olympic Games show not only that mobile data is on the rise for live sporting events (Vancouver Olympics had roughly 2.5x the amount of mobile traffic as Beijing 2yrs earlier), but also that mobile video usage for live sporting events is finally large enough to be called out separately. Here are just a few of the NBC stats from their press release:
- NBC Olympics Mobile platforms (Mobile Web Site and iTunes App), through the full 17 days of the Games have amassed 87.1 million page views, 52 million more than the total number of page views for the entire 17-day Beijing Games (34.7 million).
- There have been two million mobile video streams in the17 days, more than six times the total number for the entire 17-day Beijing Games (301k).
- By the time the Opening Ceremony broadcast started at 7:30 p.m. on Feb 12, NBC Olympics Mobile already generated more page views than the entire 2006 Winter Games (1.0 million).
All of these statistics, and a recent report by Pyramid Research (www.pyr.com) point towards significant growth in mobile video viewership for this year's World Cup in South Africa. While many providers are launching applications to provide realtime scores and news updates, there is also a proliferation of social networking applications focused around the WC2010. FIFA announced it would be offering content tailored specifically to mobile devices for the first time. ESPN is partnered with just about everyone to deliver mobile video, including MobiTV, and the three largest US mobile providers - Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and Sprint. In addition, Qualcomm is offering a part of the action through their FloTV offering. Not to be outdone, Yahoo! Sports has launched their own mobile site with scores and schedules.
The question remains - will events like WC2010 finally spark the uptick in mobile video that many have been predicting for the better part of the last 5 years? The early statistics from ESPN look promising, and point towards WC2010 blowing past the numbers from the Olympic Games just 4 short months ago: