The World Cup may be over (at least for USMNT), but the 2014 World Cup will go down in history as generating more data than any World Cup to date. With the rise of social media, mobile devices and streaming video, this year’s World Cup is expected to generate almost 13 terabytes of data, according to NetApp. They based that projection on the assumption that 73,531 people will share one minute of HD video, a likely occurrence given the preponderance of mobile devices and the number of fans tuned into this year’s World Cup. And that’s data generated by fans—in just the first ten days of the tournament, data generated by “official” FIFA broadcasters totaled 32 terabytes .
Broadcast and streaming video of the games were not the only types of data generated by the World Cup; the number of social media posts about the tournament also broke records. As of July 1, Facebook reported that 220 million people had made one billion World Cup-related posts, comments and likes. There have been more than 300 million Tweets related to the World Cup on Twitter—nearly double the number of tweets made about the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, and more than the previously record-breaking Super Bowl. And Google also reported a record number of World Cup-related searches—1.6 billion as of July 3, according to a Google webpage dedicated to tracking tournament search activity.
If this year’s data stats were record-breaking, what can we expect for future World Cup tournaments? NetApp projected that in 2022, 86,250 spectators could potentially consume 1.3 petabytes of bandwidth, as wearable devices from smart watches to eyeglass- or hat-mounted computers to biometric monitoring devices stream even more data than todays’ mobile devices. They speculate that the 2022 World Cup will likely reach most people on the planet, generating a tsunami of data that will dwarf 2014’s huge numbers.
Spectators aren’t the only ones generating and consuming data for this year’s World Cup; teams are also using data to help improve their chances of winning. Germany reportedly used software that facilitates the analysis of training, preparation and tournaments to enhance their performance. It remains to be seen who the winner of the 2014 World Cup will be, but if it’s Germany, certainly other sports teams will be using similar software to gain an edge on the competition.