Once again, the Super Bowl made history. And not just as the lowest scoring Super Bowl game of all time, but with the amount of data transferred over the Wi-Fi network within the stadium during the matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots on February 3.
Data usage during Super Bowl LIII jumped 47% from last year's NFL championship game and was seven times greater than during Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014. There were 24.05 terabytes of data transferred over the Wi-Fi network inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, with 9.99 TB used pre-game, 11.11 TB during the game, and 2.95 TB post-game, according to Extreme Networks.
SEE: Going high tech with IBM Cloud at Atlanta's new Mercedes-Benz stadium (TechRepublic)
Extreme Networks, which is the Official Wi-Fi Solutions Provider of the NFL and the official Wi-Fi Analytics Provider of Super Bowl LIII, also revealed that fans were interacting with social media as usual during the game, and the volume of social data transferred reached 2.83 TB—an increase of 9%—over last year's Super Bowl LII.
John Brams, director of hospitality, sports and entertainment at Extreme Networks, predicted the increase before the game, saying, "Our metrics continue to show that data consumption rights, utilization—they continue to rise and rise, and it doesn't seem to show any signs of slowing down."
SEE: Super Bowl 53 is poised to make digital history (TechRepublic)
The biggest spike of concurrent users occurred at half time, with 30,605 fans using the Wi-Fi network.
iTunes, YouTube, ESPN and Instagram were among the most used applications during the game, while Instagram and Facebook were among those driving the most data consumption. Over 21,000 fans used Instagram, generating over 1 TB of data across the Wi-Fi network. It was the top social media app by bandwidth and marks the first time Instagram has surpassed Facebook by data in the Super Bowl. iCloud led all applications in data transfer with 10.8 TB transferred. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Bitmoji were the five most-used social apps during Super Bowl 53, according to Extreme Networks.
Fans could also use the Distributed Antenna System (DAS) within the stadium to access their cellular providers. AT&T said that their customers used more than 11.5 TB of data in the stadium, up from 7.2 TB during last year's Super Bowl. This is equivalent to 32 million selfies. There was more than 237 gigabytes of data over the AT&T network with a 15-minute span at half-time, making it the most shared moment of the game.
As of publication time, Verizon did not share post-game stats from its mobile users at the Super Bowl.
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Teena Maddox is a Senior Writer at TechRepublic, covering hardware devices, IoT, smart cities and wearables. She ties together the style and substance of tech. Teena has spent 20-plus years writing business and features for publications including People, W and Women's Wear Daily.