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Sports Applications Technology

Super Bowl Streaming Video? Not at MetLife Stadium

January 28, 2014


Going to a football game these days often includes the use of mobile devices. This isn't just an expression of a societal fascination with the devices; it's also become rather useful to have said devices around. Watching video of the game itself, including playback of key plays, even makes some sense, but there are also issues of analyzing stats involving the game and its players, the connection with fantasy football, and so on. But in a move that may leave some fans colder than the weather is likely to be at New Jersey's MetLife Stadium on Super Bowl Sunday, streaming video will not be a part of the lineup for the Super Bowl.

The NFL's plan to block live streams of the game, at last report, are done with a specific eye toward bandwidth consumption, and more specifically, keeping quantities of same under control and ensuring that there's bandwidth enough for everyone to text and send tweets during the game. While the game itself will be streamed on both Fox Sports and, both of these sources will be blocked by the stadium's network.

The decision was reached, reportedly, after streaming was permitted at last year's Super Bowl, but bandwidth use quickly shot out of sight, requiring officials to revisit the policy in light of “...some challenges” faced last year, according to Michelle McKenna-Doyle, the NFL's CIO. What's more, this year's speeds are said to focus more on upload speeds than download, because fans are more commonly sending data than receiving it, particularly in the form of text messages and tweets about the game itself.

But despite the streaming video shutdown, the 82,500 seat stadium will still be loaded for bear as far as Internet connectivity goes. The stadium, according to McKenna-Doyle, will still have sufficient capacity to handle between 25,000 and 30,000 concurrent users for both Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity. Though the speeds weren't noted—Verizon tends to keep that information close to the vest and it handled the installations of the connection gear—it's still said to be sufficient for that kind of crowd. What's more, the NFL will be providing for attendees with an app, which includes both an overall event guide and some as-yet-unnamed “exclusive content,” but attendees who want to see instant replays and the like should probably watch at home.

However, an older technology will reportedly help fill in some of the gaps that the lack of streaming may have caused: radio. Attendees are set to receive a radio at the game with audio feeds coming in from not only the stadium's public address system, but also ESPN (News - Alert) Desportes, Fox, and Westwood One to help fans keep track of all the action on the field. Fans have reportedly been very pleased with this action, so that's set to stick around for some time.

The issue is largely the same as it's ever been. There are a lot of people in that stadium, and trying to provide streaming video capability for the lot—which is pretty much the optimum scenario—would require an amazing loadout in terms of overall capability. That's a lot of expense for something that would only be occasionally used, so it's not a surprise to not see the stadium rush right into it. Accommodating all the potential users at the game is important, so pulling the streaming video capability may be a tough pill to swallow, but one that's likely necessary to keep even the basics up and running.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker