Fox Sports Go Geared Up for Daytona
Fox Sports Go, the new Fox Sports digital platform and mobile app, may only be four months old, but it sure is battle tested.
Earlier this month, Go pulled back its authentication model and opened up its digital distribution of Super Bowl XLVIII for everyone, and in doing so, set all kinds of streaming records.
Now with the Daytona 500 arriving this weekend, Fox Sports is ready technologically for another big production and burst of users.
“We always targeted the Super Bowl as the app’s coming out party,” says Clark Pierce, SVP, Mobile and Advanced Platforms. “We launched back in October with the app and the website and it was really a soft launch. We didn’t get out in front of it for a number of reasons. The Super Bowl worked very well because it created a lot of awareness about the product.”
The Super Bowl stream on Fox Sports Go set the all-time record for the live stream of a single sporting event with an average of 528,000 viewers per minute. Fox obviously isn’t preparing for Super Bowl-level usage, but Daytona is one of Fox’s biggest sporting events of the year.
On the streaming end, Fox Sports uses adaptive bit rate technology for its distribution. For PCs, Fox is pushing out at a full range from 110KB all the way up to 3Mbps. On the app, it can go up to as high as 4Mbps.
Fox worked closesly ith Akamai in the development of the platform and Pierce says they were a huge factor in the success surrounding the Super Bowl.
“It wasn’t their first rodeo, but it was ours,” he says. “So it was great to have them because they were fantastic. They do big events and they do them very well.”
To handle the traffic that came with the Super Bowl audience, Fox also changed it up by not using digital ad insertion and treated online commercial breaks very similar to that of a linear production.
“There was no previous event that led us to believe that an ad-decisioning system could handle that kind of a volume,” says Pierce. “So we put that level of protection in place and we worked with our internal engineering and operations group to strategize that plan. It was really a smart move because I think that was the backbone to such a consistently good experience for all of our viewers.”
Fox will go back to an ad-decisioning system for this weekend’s Daytona production. Tech provider Anvato also assisted by building a tool that helped Fox upload localized and targeted commercials.
Fox Sports has produced a bevy of content around Speed Week and Pierce knows its these big events that will help build the apps popularity and respectability.
“Good games are going to drive awareness,” says Pierce. “The best marketing tool there is someone on social media saying they are watching a game on our app. It’s a big opportunity that we can take advantage of.”