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Super Bowl Sunday - Fans Feed their Game Passion with Connectivity

Posted By Jayne Swystun
February 5, 2010

This Sunday at 6:18 pm eastern, will you be tuned to the Colts and Saints game big-screen style? Tapped into an online stream? Both?

Last year’s Super Bowl had a reported audience of 1 Billion worldwide, with broadcasts or online streams to 232 countries and available in 34 languages. Shortly afterwards, CBS announced that they were in talks with the NFL to live stream this year’s Super Bowl XLIV, in addition to the mega TV broadcast programming that American fans have come to expect. You may be asking: who would be interested in watching an online stream of the Super Bowl when they could watch it on network TV? Turns out plenty of people want that online connection to the big game, for a variety of reasons. The old argument that streaming the game online would cut into the broadcast viewing audience and upset TV advertisers who are investing millions for seconds’ worth of attention just doesn’t pan out.

In an April 15 interview article in BusinessWeek, Brian Rolapp, who leads media strategy for the NFL, noted that the NBC regular season online streaming tests they conducted had revealed the millions of online viewers did not cannibalize the broadcast audience for Sunday games. In fact, they found that ”80% of viewers turned to the streams to complement TV watching, as the Internet version offered four alternative camera angles to supplement NBC’s primary picture.” Clearly fans want to tap into a better, more extensive sports experience, and of course, they want to do it on their terms. Think of the possibilities—the online stream offers you and your Super Bowl party goers stats on all the plays with the ability to display that data by any number of variables. Maybe like a real-time pivot table.

Then again if you won’t be parked in front of a big-screen for the game, you may want to rely on a mobile device for on-demand Super Bowl connectivity. Surely someone is thinking of that, since I learned that the ad-supported March Madness stream for the iPhone was an absolute hit. And while Tivo can help viewers watch what they want ad-free, that’s not really an issue for the Super Bowl. This is one day when people tune in to see what the best ads will be. They can vote online for their favorites, and of course, they can vote online for the game MVP. Connectivity and interaction are definitely being force-fed into the Super Bowl experience.

If you’re someone who won’t be in front of a TV for the big game and want to watch it all online, that’s great—provided that network capacity allows the stream to be free of those annoying gaps and pauses that you sometimes experience on Hulu or YouTube. For the network administrators and IT professionals reading this post, you can imagine the bandwidth required to ensure seamless delivery of the Super Bowl to millions of online fans. At MegaPath we work with IT leaders all the time on engineering their network for performance and security in order to ensure their traffic is segregated, optimized and prioritized.

Increasingly our customers’ network traffic involves delivery of voice and video applications for their users, and our engineering experts work with them to support those business-critical services and ensure Quality of Service (QoS). It’s an exercise in fine-tuning. Our customers’ organizations are dynamic, and so are the networks that they rely on. Connectivity, flexibility, and application performance are critical to technology providers and users—and while your network may not need to be robust enough to scale to millions of online Super Bowl viewers, your users may not be any less demanding. MegaPath network, voice, and security experts are always ready to answer your questions.

Enjoy the game on Sunday!

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