No Surprise: Super Bowl 50 Obliterates Data Usage Records

NEWS ANALYSIS: Verizon reported that more than 7TB of data was used on its network, while AT&T saw 5.2TB utilized.

Befitting a huge international event in the heart of Silicon Valley, there was a record-setting amount of action in the telecom networks Feb. 7—even if there weren't all that many records set on the field in Denver's 24-10 lackluster win over Carolina.

The whole week was record-setting. Selfies, videos, Web searches, social media updates and all other functions on connected devices created by Verizon customers in the Bay Area on game day and throughout Super Bowl week added up to 68.6 terabytes of wireless data, or the equivalent of 45 million social media posts in nine days.

AT&T's mobile traffic from event-related activities taking place Monday through Sunday in the Bay Area totaled more than 28.4TB.

Adding up the Big Two over nine days, there was a total of 97TB of data flowing through the networks. That's a lot of data for any use case.

Upwards of 15TB of Data Were Burned on Super Sunday

On Super Bowl Sunday alone, Verizon reported in a media advisory more than 7TB of data used on its network, while AT&T reported usage of 5.2TB in its own press notice. A T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray reported in his blog that the No. 3 network saw 2.1TB of data used on Feb. 7. T-Mobile also claimed higher data speeds during the event, as it did last year in Glendale, Ariz.

As of the afternoon of Feb. 8, usage numbers from Sprint Mobile were not made available.

So, adding up the Big Three carriers, there was a total of 14.3TB of data used at the Super Bowl. It's safe to say that when Sprint's numbers come in, along with smaller carriers, the total will easily exceed 15TB. So, Mike Elgan, your prediction here on eWEEK was right on target.

Thus, since last year's data usage record of 6.2TB in Arizona was obliterated, the golden anniversary of the Super Bowl now holds the unofficial record as the most connected and shared championship game in history. The 2014 total from the game in New Jersey was a mere 1.9TB, which looks pretty paltry after this year's event.

Verizon credited a $70 million long-term investment to more than triple its 4G LTE wireless data network capacity in the Bay Area for its success.

Super Bowl 50 by the data usage numbers:

--More than 15TB of data used;
--35,000-plus estimated unique devices;
--Speed test example from lower bowl seats clocked at 120M bps on the download;
--Fans' favorite social app: Facebook at 12 percent of total usage;
--Speed test example from tailgate clocked at 57.92M bps on the download.

Which Websites Responded the Fastest During the Game

Dynatrace Digital Performance Expert David Jones explained to eWEEK the metrics that indicated which websites were the fastest at responding to viewers after seeing the ads during the game. Dynatrace specializes in server-side performance optimization.

"Here is a summary of response times measured for Super Bowl advertisers," Jones said. "A substantial part of these end user response times are made up of server request time. This is how much time it takes a server to respond to an inbound request from a browser. We measure this as: 'How much time does it take for us to receive the first packet of data in response to a request?' Let's put it this way: This is how much time it takes for the server to 'think' about responding to a request."

In terms of the top performers,, and took the top three spots, Jones said. "Those sites scored touchdowns. These sites were rock-solid for the entire game. This chart below shows the last four hours; congratulations need to go out to the Web teams responsible for these sites."

Here are the top 10 fastest responding websites for Super Bowl advertisers on Feb. 7: 1.527 seconds (avg. response time) 1.890 seconds 2.062 seconds 2.189 seconds 2.432 seconds 2.569 seconds 2.698 seconds 3.152 seconds 3.380 seconds 3.468 seconds

As for the sites that fumbled on Sunday, well, there were a few, including (6.44 seconds), Deathwish Coffee (5.924) and Mini Cooper (9.459).

By the way, was completely sacked on Sunday. The site crashed during the halftime show and didn't come back up until 3 a.m. Monday morning, Dynatrace reported.

For more details, read Dynatrace's blog here.

Ad Mentions on Social Media During the Game

Sprinklr Social Mirror offered some post-game performance statistics to eWEEK.

--Esurance and Avocados from Mexico were among the top ads mentioned on social media during the game. Esurance generated more than 77,699 mentions without even running an advertisement during the game itself, choosing to go with an ad prior to kickoff. Avocados from Mexico's quirky commercial featuring Scott Baio also generated a great deal of chatter, with around 17,936 mentions.

--The NFL's Super Bowl Babies commercial featuring Seal also generated some late game excitement, garnering 13,829 mentions.

--Everyone was talking about the halftime show, featuring Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars: All performers across the halftime show and the show itself generated 338,835 mentions across social networks.

--Peyton Manning wins on the field and on social: The Denver quarterback had 71,807 mentions across social media, while Carolina QB Cam Newton had 49,965.

--Which team got the most social media buzz? The Panthers may have lost the game, but they won on social media, generating 352,212 mentions while the Broncos have generated 346,649 mentions.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...