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Technology Fuelled the Super Bowl

Sports and technology now go hand in hand

The most connected one-day sporting event in history

As the dust settles on this year’s Super Bowl, take the time to think about the huge amount of technology that was involved in its production and distribution around the world. Sports events are no longer simply a matter of two teams meeting on a field and competing to find out which one is the best. An entire industry has built up around major sports events, and technology is the enabler.

Extreme Networks, Inc., the Official Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Analytics provider of Super Bowl LI, announced that a record-breaking 11.8 Terabytes (TB) of data traversed the Wi-Fi network during Super Bowl LI. Social media drove the fan engagement at Super Bowl. This social interaction and streaming video accounted for 1.7 terabytes of data transfer, an increase of 55 percent over last year’s Super Bowl event.

Real Time Optimization

Extreme’s entire suite of technologies was utilized to power what was, almost certainly, the most connected one-day event in digital history. ExtremeSwitching™ and ExtremeWireless™ provided connectivity to all vendors, fans and other supporting staff. ExtremeManagement™ and ExtremeControl™ powered optimization, security and support for all connectivity. ExtremeAnalytics™ gave teams in the Command Center the insight s needed to ensure optimization of end-user connectivity at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal provided insight into the NFL’s use of ExtremeAnalytics.  This network visibility enabled the technical team at Super Bowl LI to adjust its wired and wireless strategy to support and anticipate the needs of fans at the game, all in real time.

Key Statistics:

  • A total of 11.8 TB of data was transferred during Super Bowl LI. This beat Super Bowl 50, which came in at 10.14TB. This year surpassed Super Bowl XLIX’s 6TB by over 100 percent
  • Social networking sites accounted for 1.7 terabytes of data transferred, an increase of 55 percent from last year’s game
  • Facebook, SnapChat and Twitter accounted for almost 12 percent of the total bandwidth used during the game
  • Forty-nine percent of fans at the game were on the Wi-Fi network during the Super Bowl. At its peak, 27,191 concurrent users were on the network. This is a 41 percent increase from last year and an amazing 101 percent increase from Super Bowl XLVIII
  • The network sustained throughput of 3.5 Gbps for over five hours. There were spikes up to 5.2 Gbps and 4.8 Gbps during the pre-game and halftime show respectively. This is the fastest recorded for any Super Bowl game
  • All statistics are available in Extreme’s fourth annual Super Bowl Infographic.

This is the first time that Extreme has implemented its wired and wireless solution at a Super Bowl stadium.  ExtremeAnalytics powered the Super Bowl for the fourth time.

Constant evolution to meet the needs of fans

Michelle McKenna-Doyle, CIO and SVP of The National Football League commented: “Technology has transformed how the game of football is played and consumed. Players have advanced tools that help them improve their performance and prepare for a game. Fans now have multiple channels on which they engage with their team. When we implemented the Wi-Fi standard across the League in 2013, we had the foresight to understand that the need to connect and interact in real time would become increasingly important to our fans. Our partnership with Extreme Networks has enabled us to deliver that connectivity and better understand how the game is consumed. We’re constantly evolving to meet the needs of our fans.”

Technology has changed the way we interact with sporting events and our sporting icons. The rate of this change is rapid, we will continue to see new technologies that will change this industry further. Social media and the internet are now an integral part of the sports experience.

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