UEFA Euro 2020 Streaming Traffic Tops Olympics

(Image credit: International Olympic Committee)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—In the streaming battle between the two biggest sporting events of the summer of 2021, the UEFA European Championships can claim gold for peak streaming traffic and the number of hours streamed, according to Akamai.

Peak streaming traffic for the UEFA Euro matches hit 35 Tbps on July 11 during the match between Italy and England, more than three times the peak traffic of 10 Tbps on August 7th for the Olympics, according to a blog post by Cory Sakakeeny, the principal lead technical project manager at Akamai. 

UERA Euro 2020 also bested the Olympics in terms of total streaming hours, though by a much tighter margin with 578 million total streaming hours compared to about 500 million hours from Tokyo on the Akamai platform. 

Sakakenny’s blog noted that the last full day of competition during the games in Tokyo generated the highest video streaming traffic for 30-plus customers on the Akamai Intelligent Edge Platform, with peak 10 Tbps traffic on Saturday, August 7. 

That's more than double the 4.5 Tbps peak Akamai observed during the games in Rio in 2016. “Average peak traffic for the full event in Tokyo was 8.3 Tbps compared with 3 Tbps for the full event in Rio,” Sakakeeny reported. “In total, Akamai streamed 500 million hours of video from Tokyo for our customers. That's more than double the 234 million hours of video delivered from Rio.”

Sakakeeny explained the difference in peak traffic for the European soccer championship, which hit a traffic peak of 35 Tbps on Akamai and averaged 17.5 Tbps across every match, by noting that “it boils down to audience concentration. The soccer matches made for appointment viewing, typically 90-minute competitions that rarely played out over more than a 2-hour window. Compare that with Tokyo, which consisted of many different competitions taking place all day, every day. While the peak from Europe was more than triple Tokyo's, the number of total streaming hours from Europe (578 million) was just less than 1.2x the 500 million hours from Tokyo.”

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.