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VISION: Big Data and the World Cup


blog-details-userBrittany Box

blog-details-eye-slashJun 26, 2014


Katie Levans, Marketing Director

A few months ago we hosted a friendly office March Madness competition. Not knowing (or caring) anything about sports, I conveniently “forgot” to fill out my bracket until about three minutes before the cut off when my colleagues guilt-tripped me into being a team player. I aimlessly clicked my way through the online form picking the cities and/or states and/or mascots I like best.

In the end, my blind faith in my home state of Kentucky and love of cats kept my bracket alive longer than anyone else’s and, much to my colleagues’ dismay, I won the competition. They are still very perturbed by the whole situation. Thank you, University of Kentucky.

Anyway, as the only Tresata employee without a vested interest in sports and, thus, the only one not watching the soccer livestream in the office right this very second, I’ve taken it upon myself to geek out the World Cup with a look at the massive data generation behind what is being called the most technologically advanced sporting event of all time.

Social Media

World Cup 2014 is officially the biggest social media event in history, generating more posts and interactions than this year’s Superbowl, Sochi Olympics and the Academy Awards combined. Facebook has created a dedicated Trending World Cup hub, and Twitter is reporting the reach of the 140-character World Cup conversation with quick stats and data visualization for each match via @twitterdata. With plenty of viewers keeping up with the games from work, the collective global World Cup stream of consciousness available in real time via social outlets provides a discrete alternative to full-blown TV watching.


While most World Cup viewers are watching the traditional way on a TV, smartphones and tablets create alternative and complementary viewing experiences with live streaming of games, dedicated World Cup apps, gambling games and, of course, social media. According to Statista, 58% of World Cup mobile users are looking for information and scores and 46% use mobile devices to stream audio or video of the game.


Each of the 12 World Cup stadiums is outfitted with 14 high-speed cameras connected to an image-processing computer for indisputable goal accuracy. When a ball passes the line, a watch on each referee’s hand vibrates and displays the word GOAL in less than a second. And that’s just for the goal. Another 224 HD cameras will capture 2,500 hours of game footage on the field. If that’s not enough coverage for you, 30 camera-clad PackBot robots have been deployed to assist officials in security around the stadiums.

And that’s really just the beginning. Consider the transaction data and economic impact of 3 million fans making purchases in the stadiums and around the city, sales and marketing data from brands advertising at the games, and the list goes on and on.