Super Bowl LVII still sees nearly minute lag between on-field play and stream, survey finds
“The Super Bowl will be streamed to millions of fans who will chat and text with each other during the game. Unfortunately, with the delays in technology that broadcasters and streaming platforms employ, this interactivity can’t extend far beyond the living room, as it’s supposed to, with fear of spoilers from Twitter or a text from your group chat coming a minute too early,” said Phenix CMO Jed Corenthal in a statement.
“In 2023, there’s no excuse for delays and buffering to impact the viewing experience this poorly, especially for one of the biggest events of the year.”
Phenix’s analysis looked at six major streaming providers to monitor their respective latency.
FOX sports’ streaming platform, not surprisingly, had the lowest delay at 23.76 seconds. FOX broadcast this year’s Super Bowl.
YoutTubeTV was second, at 54.14 seconds. DirectTV, at 57.13 seconds, was the only other surveyed provider with under a minute of lag.
The NFL’s streaming platform, NFL+, was recorded at 60.7 seconds. Hulu was clocked at just over 69 seconds while FuboTV had the longest delay among the measured providers at 76.73 seconds.
Phenix CMO Jed Corenthal: “In 2023, there’s no excuse for delays and buffering to impact the viewing experience this poorly, especially for one of the biggest events of the year.”
Phenix collected 167 data points benchmarking latency across six leading streaming platforms on a variety of devices and operating systems, including browser-based and app-based experiences, the company said in a release announcing the data. Phenix benchmarked latency of over-the-air broadcast, cable and satellite against an individual that was watching the game live at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
The company then measured the delay from these benchmarked signals to the aforementioned streaming platforms on a variety of devices and operating systems across the US. By combining these measurements, Phenix is able “to provide a more complete picture of the average latency and drift for each of the streaming services behind the action on the field,” the company said in a release.
“Throughout this entire NFL season, users from a variety of streaming platforms have routinely flocked to social media to express their frustration with delays, spoilers, and buffering,” Phenix CEO Roy Reichbach said in a statement. “To be able to stream the biggest game of the year, platforms must effectively control common streaming risks like changing network conditions, viewing surges, and latency – anything otherwise, is simply not fair to the consumer and does a grave disservice to the NFL.”
Sports betting significance
The delays during what is perenially the most wagered-upon sporting event in the US underscore the difficulties American bettors have trying to juggle placing live bets and watching those events stream.
NFL games average less than 40 seconds between plays, meaning that bettors last Sunday would have only had one service, FOX, that could allow them to watch and live bet under that average. Even then, placing live bets and watching the game wagered upon anywhere outside the actual venue itself remains difficult.
Leading sportsbooks can optimize their live lines seconds after each play, but bettors watching virtually all streaming providers see the result of the play after its already been adjusted by the sportsbook. This means following along with a sportsbook’s live lines functions like a spoiler for bettors trying to watch the actual competition.
The inability to watch and bet simultaneously is hurting bettors’ enjoyment of games and sportsbooks’ financial bottom line, Corenthal told iGaming Next before Super Bowl LVII. If, and until, the lag is eliminated – or at least reduced dramatically – bettors will remain frustrated and sportsbooks will leave potentially billions of dollars in handle on the table.