Mobile Viewing Accelerating for European Sports Events

Blog Post created by charliekraus on Jul 26, 2016

June and July have had back to back major sports activity in Europe, with the Euro 2016 football championships, Wimbledon Tennis, and the British Open golf event. In a blog prior to the first match of football, I covered the video coverage planning. In this blog I will discuss post events data on viewing habits of fans during these major events.


Euro 2016 TV ratings rewrote some of the record books. According the an article in Variety, The July 10 final match between Portugal and France drew 20.8 million viewers and 80% share on M6, the number 2 French TV network. In the UK, the BBC broadcast peaked at 13.6 million viewers, and Germany saw the biggest Euro soccer audience ever - 29.8 million tuned into public broadcaster ZDF to watch Germany lose to France 2-0 with an 80% share. Fans watching matches on mobile devices was expected to be 20% of the viewers.


Part of the reason for the record viewing figures was the venue’s time zone convenience for schedulers, with the majority of matches played in European evening primetime.


Wimbledon TV coverage also enjoyed healthy viewership. According to Facts and Figures, with the men’s singles final drawing a peak audience of 9.2 million viewers, and an average of 7.3 million. Other statistics gathered were 1.6 million downloads of the Wimbledon App, 71 million site visits, 542 million page views, and the social media audience was 8.5 million.


Next up on the calendar was the British Open golf tournament further north at Royal Troon. Nearly 50 hours of live TV was broadcast from the event. Final round coverage of the British Open earned a 3.3 final rating and 4.9 million viewers on NBC Sunday morning, up 38% in ratings and 46% in viewership from last year. The duel between Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson ranked as the highest rated and most-watched British Open telecast since 2009, according to Sports Media Watch.


All of these events saw simultaneous traditional linear broadcast and live streaming for mobile online viewing. If the pre-events estimate that 20% of viewers would watch on mobile devices, CDNs were pumping between 0.5 Tbps and 1 Tbps of live video traffic during the matches.  Mobile has become a matter of fact in all major sports coverage. Expect to see this trend continue, along with other alternate ways to watch supports, including on social media sites, and with virtual reality broadcasts.