2018 FIFA World Cup Is Shattering Live-Streaming Records

Streaming video tech company Akamai, which has been supporting live streaming for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, reports that the tournament is the largest sporting event in which the company has been involved. The World Cup from Russia has experienced a major increase in live-streaming traffic, with the first 10 days surpassing traffic for all 64 matches of the 2014 event in Brazil. According to Akamai, the current tournament has delivered more than twice the streaming video traffic of four years ago and more than 15 times the video delivered in 2010.

The Colombia-England second-round match last week hit a video traffic peak of 18.59 terabits per second.

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“This is the highest video traffic peak for any single sporting competition that Akamai has helped deliver,” the company announced in a statement. “During the 2014 tournament, our highest peak was 6.9 terabits per second during the Netherlands-Argentina semi-final, which set record at the time for the highest peak traffic rate of any live sports event that Akamai had delivered.”

“The data for this year’s World Cup shows the significant growth of live streaming video and its ability to support viewing experiences that are on par with and even better than those of traditional television,” notes the company. “Audiences are getting bigger and their expectations are growing. Viewers are watching on more devices than ever at continuously higher levels of quality.”

In terms of broadcast television, “Fox and Telemundo won the U.S. rights for the 2018 and 2022 men’s World Cups for a combined $1 billion,” reports FierceCable. “That total was more than double the $425 million that ESPN and Univision paid together for the U.S. rights to the 2010 and 2014 men’s World Cups — and of that total, ESPN paid $100 million.”

TV ratings early in the tournament were reportedly a bit lower than anticipated due to the absence of the USA team, but Fox Sports has scored major ratings in the later rounds, according to Multichannel News. “This past Saturday the network drew a whopping 6.3 million viewers for the Croatia-Russia match quarterfinal match (6.6 million including streaming viewers), making in the most watched World Cup quarterfinal in English or Spanish language since at least 1990.”

Saturday’s match between England and Sweden attracted “5 million viewers across the network and digital streaming platforms, according to Fox.”