Super Bowl LIII Fans Used a Record 24.05 Terabytes of Mobile Data

Or printing two and a half Libraries of Congress' worth of paper

This year's Big Game saw the most mobile data usage of any game in history. - Credit by Getty Images
Headshot of Lisa Lacy

Super Bowl LIII attendees blew through 24.05 terabytes (TB) of data, giving the game yet another record alongside distinctions like being the lowest-scoring Super Bowl and seeing the oldest starting quarterback.

Fans used nearly 50 percent more data in Atlanta than they did in Minneapolis during Super Bowl LII. To put this into perspective, 24.05 TB is the digital equivalent of printing everything in the Library of Congress, which is the world’s largest library and has more than 168 million items, twice, and then adding printouts from the paper you’d get if you cut down 202,500 trees.

Networking company Extreme Networks, which partnered with the NFL in 2014 to track Super Bowl data and provides software for 28 of 31 NFL stadiums to improve stadium Wi-Fi, said this is mostly because of social media. On Instagram in particular, 21,000 attendees generated 1 TB of data on the photosharing platform alone. Extreme said this is the first time since it began tracking Super Bowl data in 2014 that Instagram surpassed Facebook, though Facebook was still among the platforms driving the most data consumption.

Data usage during the Super Bowl is up 650 percent since 2014, which Extreme said is mostly because of social media and videos. Super Bowl LIII attendees used 2.8 TB of data on social media overall. Other popular social platforms included Twitter, Snapchat and Bitmoji.

The most popular sporting apps included ESPN, NFL, Super Bowl LIII Fan Mobile Pass, CBS Sports and Bleacher Report.

And while you might think the action on the field provided ample entertainment, Extreme said attendees also simultaneously used iTunes, YouTube, AirPlay, Spotify and Netflix while watching the game.

Nearly 49,000 of 75,000 fans were on their phones, marking an engagement rate of nearly 70 percent. Usage peaked at 30,605 users during the halftime show. Apple’s iCloud transferred 10.8 TB during the game, the most of any storage provider.

The 24.05 total breaks down to 9.99 TB before the game, 11.11 TB during the game and 2.95 TB after the game.


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@lisalacy lisa.lacy@adweek.com Lisa Lacy is a senior writer at Adweek, where she focuses on retail and the growing reach of Amazon.