VPN Demand Surges as World Cup Gets Underway

(Image credit: MLS)

VPN demand surged on Nov. 20 as millions of people tuned in to watch Qatar vs Ecuador in the first game of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

According to SafetyDetectives researchers’ analysis, VPN demand during the first game increased by 1,038% compared to the same time 7 days prior.

VPN use has been growing among soccer fans in recent years, and Monday's surge is in line with increases in VPN demand seen during the 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cups.

A VPN is a security tool that hides the user’s identity and their device’s location and protects their internet traffic as they surf the internet. Soccer fans can use a VPN to bypass censorship and geo-restrictions to gain access to World Cup coverage and related content.

Fans may use a VPN to access geo-restricted content, such as free TV coverage in a different country than their own. In fact, the researcher has seen interest in the BBC’s World Cup coverage grow online in recent days, as people tune in to watch its English-language broadcasts. Traveling fans may also use a VPN to watch broadcasts being aired in their home country.

The SafetyDetectives research team compiled data to measure the impact of the FIFA World Cup 2022 on VPN demand. To calculate the surge, they compared VPN demand during the World Cup’s first game, Qatar vs. Ecuador, to data samples of VPN demand taken before the World Cup.