Emma Raducanu’s US Open win is a great example of how we’re serving up content in new ways


By Marc Allera, CEO of BT Group’s Consumer division

Tennis is one of my great passions, both playing and watching. So I was enthralled by Emma Raducanu's performance over her three weeks at the US Open – and not least by her straight sets win in the final over Canada's Leylah Fernandez in the final.

I wasn't the only one. Emma’s victory drove vastly more traffic over BT's network than the men's final the following night. Here's a few points to bring into play:

We had seen data traffic from Amazon Prime, which owns the UK rights for showing the US open, steadily grow over our network as she progressed through the tournament. It’s not surprising that a British finalist would drive higher traffic, but the scale of the difference over the men’s final, where Novak Djokovic was both going for a rare calendar year Grand Slam while also striving to be the man with the most Slams in history, was huge. Through our new caching partnership with Qwilt (which helps deliver some of our network traffic through a caching system to help our network operate more efficiently), we saw more than double the traffic for Raducanu as we did Djokovic. You can see the two peaks on consecutive days on the graph below. 15-0.

Qwilt - Emma Raducanu

But the channels shared the spoils. Amazon Prime cut a last-minute deal with Channel 4 to show the live coverage, with Channel 4 enjoying an estimated 9.2m viewers as a result. Had this deal not been made, traffic over our networks would have been far higher. In fact, we estimate that BT broadband customers, if they switched over from Channel 4 to streaming the match live, could have driven total traffic north of 8 petabytes. 30-0.

You could call it a 'cache prize' – BT delivered some of the final to customers over a new Qwilt platform. Qwilt’s pioneering open caching platform, used over Cisco’s cloud infrastructure, gives BT the capability to deliver premium quality video and on demand services in the UK. As streaming and the downloading of massive game files continues to accelerate, caching content at the edge is one of the innovative solutions helping BT to meet growing demand. 40-0.

Stars like Emma and Leylah will only drive that demand further. Huge congratulations to Emma for her amazing success in the US Open. May it long continue!

Game, set, match Raducanu.

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @marcallera

Photo by Sudan Ouyang on Unsplash