Mark Fisher

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NBA Fans Across Asia

A promotion for the 2017 NBA Finals along the highway in Mumbai, India
NBA Fans Across Asia
I was in Asia last week visiting customers and ran into some unexpected pockets of fanatic NBA fans.

I am a huge Warriors fan and expect them to take the NBA championship again this year, which will be their second championship in just three years. They are up three games to one in the final series against the Cleveland Cavaliers. This NBA finals contest in which the Warriors face the Cavaliers in a best of seven series, now in its third consecutive year, features the head to head match-up of two NBA stars – Warriors Steph Curry and the Cavs Lebron James. I was pleasantly surprised to see their two faces in a massive billboard which stretched across the freeway in Mumbai, India last week. I had thought the Indians cared only for their national sport, cricket. It turns out there is a rapidly growing following for the NBA as well.

During the trip to Asia, I feared I would miss the games, but was both pleasantly surprised and relieved to see the NBA finals being promoted officially in Mumbai and more informally along the streets of Manila. I took this as a good sign that, despite the ocean that separated me from the US, there would still be plenty of interest from local fans and good live viewing options. As I assessed the situation further, I was pleased to find a few pockets of fanatic NBA fans in some unexpected places. In this post, I’ll focus on the Philippines.

Fanatic Basketball Fans in the Philippines

As it turns out, basketball has a huge following in the Philippines where the PBA (Philippines Basketball Association – is the first professional basketball league in Asia and the oldest continuously existing league in the world outside of the NBA. There are twelve company branded franchise teams with team names like the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers and the Talk n Text Tropang Texters. PBA games in the Philippine Arena in Manila have recorded attendance as high as 52,612 during the 2014 – 2015 season. These are some serious fans.

Needless to say, when I showed up at a local café and bar (see photo below) at 9am in Manila to watch Game 2, the place was packed with big flat screen TVs and diehard local fans who stayed for the entire game and cheered, almost exclusively, for the Warriors to win.

An Invitation to Watch the NBA Finals in a Local Bar in Manila

Perhaps just as interesting as the bar signs inviting basketball fans in Manila to watch the live NBA Finals game at 9am local time are the performance statistics from our Open Caching deployments across the Philippines. They give us a clear and quantitative view of just how seriously fans in the Philippines take their basketball, and how substantially Open Caching impacts streaming delivery and quality of experience.  Let’s take a close look at those open caching stats during the NBA finals.

Open Caching Performance – NBA Finals Live in the Philippines

As you can see from the chart below, the volume of traffic delivered from streaming of the live NBA finals game ranked third during this live event, behind delivery of Apple iOS software updates and ahead of Playstation and Windows software updates. This volume of traffic, for an NBA event which aired at 9am local time on a workday in Manila, is a testimony to the number of NBA fans who made it a priority to live stream the game from the US.

Open Cache Delivery of NBA Finals Game 4 in the Philippines

Open Cache Delivery of NBA Finals Game 4 in the Philippines

Cache Efficiency – 85% Offload of Live Streams to Open Caching

Furthermore, as shown in the chart below, the efficiency of the Open Cache in delivery of NBA live streams during the game is extremely high with over 85% of live streams being delivered by Qwilt Open Cache systems during the event. This high cache efficiency very clearly captures the value of Open Caching which can offload the vast majority of live streams to the local, in-ISP network, cache. This offload means less traffic is coming across transit links which results in a reduction of international transit costs. If the Open Cache is deployed deep in the ISP network, at the edge and near consumers, the cache offload also means a reduction in internal network costs, both Capex and Opex, required to carry streaming traffic from the transit or peering gateway to the access network segment which serves the customer. The higher the cache efficiency, the greater the offload impact and the greater the network capital and operational cost savings. In the case of this live event, over 85% of served traffic was offloaded to the Open Cache. An outstanding outcome for the service provider.

Open Cache Efficiency for NBA Finals Game 4 in the Philippines

Open Cache Delivery QoE for NBA Finals Game 4 in the Philippines

Improved Quality of Experience (QoE)

Finally, from the chart below, you can quickly see the substantial benefit from delivering live streams from a local Open Cache. Whereas the average bit rate of streams coming from the upstream content provider or commercial CDN is 2.8 mbps, the average bit rate of streams coming from the Open Cache is 5.8 mbps, an improvement of over 200%. This means the Open Cache delivery will result in a higher Quality of Experience for the end user.

Open Cache Delivery QoE for NBA Finals Game 4 in the Philippines

Open Cache Delivery QoE for NBA Finals Game 4 in the Philippines

Open Caching #FTW

The value of open caching, therefore, includes both the network costs savings to the service provider and the improved QoE to the end user when an Open Cache delivers content, whether live streams, VoD or software updates, from inside the service provider network. Moreover, the Open Cache acts autonomously within the network to detect popular content and automatically ingest and deliver that content when the offload impact is the greatest. So, no one has to know ahead of time that the NBA finals will be watch by fanatic fans in Manila and instruct the cache to be ready for the onslaught of streams. This Open Cache detects the event and does its job instantaneously and efficiently throughout the event, even if the games goes to overtime. Once the champion is crowned, the Open Cache will move on to the next popular event and continue seeking its goal to optimize streaming in the network.

Here’s to another Warriors NBA championship – Game 5 starts at 6pm PT tonight – and to the great NBA fans in the Philippines who will, no doubt, be heading the cafes in Manila early on Tuesday morning to watch and cheer.