The onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic in March 2020 forced the English Football League (EFL), the world’s first original football (soccer) league, to pause its season. When government officials in the United Kingdom allowed live sports to resume their season later that spring without fans in attendance, the EFL had to get creative in the way it provided live match coverage to those at home. The league worked with Endeavor Streaming to ensure every single match for the duration of the 2019-2020 season would be available to stream.
Thanks to its partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Endeavor Streaming was able to power both the front-end and back-end operations of the EFL’s streaming platform, iFollow. Available on mobile, desktop and tablet devices, iFollow provides live streaming of matches, audio match commentary, behind-the-scenes content, newsletters, and match highlights.
“Using AWS’s EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) virtual servers and Amazon Aurora Global Database allowed us to sell and deliver football on a wide scale to the fans who were prohibited from going to the stadium at the time,” said Gonçalo Luiz, Senior VP and Chief Technology Officer of Platform at Endeavor Streaming. “We leveraged AWS’s horizontal scalability to transcode as many as 70 live streams concurrently. Prior to using AWS eight years ago, we lacked the capability to achieve a concurrency of this magnitude.”
The heavy workload performed by the EC2 servers enabled Endeavor Streaming to focus more on enhancing other back-end operations, such as delivering customizable user interface to various regions around the world, transcoding content into multiple language offerings and subtitles, and meeting other video-on-demand requests.
Sustaining a Best-in-Class Product Throughout a 9-Month Season
As a result of its strategic partnership with AWS, Endeavor Streaming was able to live stream over 4,300 EFL matches, resulting in 20,500 hours of video on-demand content, and over 1 billion minutes of viewership over the course of a nine-month season.
AWS’s Amazon Aurora Global Database helped Endeavor Streaming provide a geographically redundant infrastructure, improving its resilience to local hardware, network or power failures. Endeavor Streaming also leveraged AWS Kinesis to constantly feed internal and external data dashboards throughout the season.
“We were able to know in real time how many users logged in, purchased a match, started a stream, which devices were being used to consume the event, and other key performance metrics,” said Luiz.
In addition to real-time data, Endeavor Streaming was able to share weekly viewership intelligence with their client, enabling the EFL to better understand the user journey. The EFL then used those touchpoints to brainstorm and implement strategies to engage and draw in more viewers.
Improving the Overall Consumer Experience
Working alongside Amazon Web Services has furthered Endeavor Streaming’s position as a global leader in the live events streaming space. Luiz said AWS products have enabled Endeavor Streaming to expand its platform streaming capabilities to support a virtually unlimited number of concurrent events and multi-million concurrent viewers.
“Unlike a five or six hour pay-per-view event where the technology must provide the flexibility to scale a singular event of that magnitude vertically, in this particular example, the technology of AWS provided us the predictability and reliability to consistently also scale horizontally to execute dozens of live streams, each involving a wide range of touchpoints from online purchases to data processing, on a weekly basis for the entire nine-month season.”