In every large gathering or event today, you’ll see crowds of people holding up their smartphones or tablets to snap up the experience and share it with the world. To help make that new behavior as painless as possible, the NFL has decided ahead of time that it will prevent people inside the stadium from watching live video streams during the Super Bowl XLVIII match between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos.
It might sound strange to hear of people watching a live stream version while physically present at a live event, but audiences at sports matches usually use it to watch replays or catch up on commentaries. But aside from actually taking away some part of the experience and social aspect of watching a game live, such use of the Internet has also produced network congestion that prevents others from, among other things, advertising the game’s events.
That is why the NFL will be preventing users from watching such live streams. It won’t actually be able to block users from streaming video. Instead, it will simply block them from accessing official video streams from NFL.com and Fox Sports, both on mobile apps as well as from Web browsers. There will be undoubtedly other unofficial live streams and it will be unlikely that the NFL will be able to block these as well.
Streaming was initially allowed at last year’s Super Bowl, but the bandwidth usage that it incurred forced the organizers to block it mid-game. Now NFL is taking a proactive stance. The stadium, which can seat around 82,500 people, will be able to accommodate up to 30,000 concurrent Internet users. However, Verizon, who will be providing network coverage, hasn’t disclosed download and uplink speeds.
The official Super Bowl app from NFL will still provide fans with stats, event guides, and exclusive content. Attendees, however, will not be able to watch video streams or replays. Internet users are invited to use the freed up bandwidth to post photos and updates on their favorite social networking sites instead.