This weekend is monumental for sports. The NFL Draft kicked off in prime-time on Thursday evening and continues, the NHL and NBA are in the midst of high-tension playoff series, the world turns its attention to the Kentucky Derby on Saturday afternoon and then on Saturday evening we’ll see the mother of all boxing matches: Mayweather-Pacquiao. Forget the Superbowl, this weekend is a natural Sports-mageddon!
While everyone is watching these massive events, I’ll keep my eyes tuned to a different bout — Sports-mageddon vs. the Internet. Based on the aggressive, high-profile 24/7 schedule this weekend, I think Sports-mageddon has a chance to black out parts of the Internet.
From my perspective at Dyn, here’s what’s happening: Suddenly, the intense focus on sports is about to create huge peaks in Internet traffic for sports-related sites (and also the fashionistas showing off their Derby hats on Instagram). Think of all the live streams, draft-day fact-checking and scores that people will want to see live or as close to live as possible. Unless your favorite sports website has done its back-end homework, you might get blacked out from the info you want in real-time. This can be a huge issue for any sports website. Never mind a blackout, if a site is even delayed by three seconds, 40 percent of people leave (and have no intention to come back later).
Here are the scenarios I can see where the Sports-mageddon will win over the Internet this weekend:
- A largely unknown draft pick is chosen by an NFL team over the course of the draft.
I love the NFL and college football, but I don’t immediately know everyone drafted. Sometimes when the Patriots make a draft choice, I have to do some research to figure out exactly who that person is. There are bound to be some lesser-known players selected, and that means we’ll all look at the websites of college and local papers to figure out exactly who these guys are. Those sites may not be ready for a huge influx of visitors, which could be triple or more of what they normally receive and possibly bring them down. Go Pats!
- The Kentucky Derby Live Stream
It’s amazing that I don’t even need to be in front of a TV to see the Derby live. Actually, because NBC hooked it up, I don’t even need to be in front of my computer — I can live stream via my phone. But what if everyone else decides to do the same? What if the video is choppy? What if there’s a photo finish and I don’t get to feel the adrenaline from it, and have to settle for a replay 20 minutes later? It’s like the Apple Livestream all over again.
- Brands that Successfully use Sports-Mageddon to Promote Business
There are going to be a lot of fashion labels promoting their fancy hats at the Derby. There will be a ton of sports bars letting you know they are ground zero for all sports-mageddon activities. There are bound to be hashtags, crowds and contest. What if sites have successful promotions, but go way beyond the amount of traffic they are able to handle on the backend? Their promotions will be toast.
- Knowing Something About Boxing
Let’s face it — the majority of us may be excited to see Manny and Floyd in the ring together, but boxing isn’t exactly the national sport it used to be. It’s likely we’ll see a lot of people flooding to the sites of boxing writers for some details before, during and after the big fight. The influx of traffic could simply make these sites unavailable to readers at the most important time of the year. I just hope the 22:1 odds I took of Pacquiao KO’ing Mayweather in the 9th round will pay off!
Personally, I hope that Sports-mageddon and the Internet have a smooth relationship this weekend. However, if I were a betting man, I would wager on a few knock downs in Internet performance.
Kyle York is Dyn’s Chief Strategy Officer and has been a long-time executive, having joined in 2008. Over the years, he has held go-to-market leadership roles in worldwide sales, marketing, and services. In his role as CSO, Kyle focuses on overall corporate strategy, including: positioning and evangelism, new market entry, strategic alliances and partnerships, M&A, and business development. Outside of Dyn, Kyle is an angel investor, entrepreneur, and advisor in several startups. Follow Kyle on Twitter: @kyork20 and @Dyn.