Performance Testing Before Euro 2016

UEFA estimated that the final of the Euro 2016 soccer tournament would draw 300 million worldwide viewers, and that was only a fraction of the estimated 2 billion (!!!) unique live viewers over the course of the 51-match tournament.

Euro 2016 was a massively successful global event — that means there was a lot of web traffic, too

Because of the way people currently experience live sporting events, that translated to millions of people who streamed the game on computers and mobile devices around the world. Plus, it’s important to consider the many more people who checked scores and news on UEFA’s website and tournament-specific mobile app.

UEFA, the organizer of the quadrennial tournament, prides itself on innovating live broadcasts and sporting technology. So, naturally, the talented engineers at UEFA prepared for a massive influx in digital traffic weeks before the first match of the Euro even kicked off.

Using Load Impact for performance testing, UEFA ensured that every user who streamed matches, checked scores on or updated their fantasy lineups from a mobile device had a great user experience that wouldn’t take away from the sport they love.

SimilarWeb estimates that UEFA saw a 128 percent increase in web traffic June 10, the day the tournament started with a match between host-nation France and Romania.

According to the same SimilarWeb data, it looks like UEFA expertly handled another big jump in traffic June 22, which was the final day of the tournament’s group stage.

Traffic ups and downs are big reasons why performance testing is critical before high-profile, lengthy events

“One of the main reasons to continuously performance test your applications is to understand how they’ll react to a large increase in traffic,” said David Rosen, head of product at Load Impact. “UEFA took initiative and started preparing for Euro 2016 well in advance, and they were able to optimize their application and API endpoint performance in plenty of time before the tournament started.”

By rigorously testing with Load Impact in the weeks prior to the most anticipated soccer tournament of the year, UEFA was able to ensure a quality user experience for its most important API endpoints.

The engineers at UEFA clearly had a goal that every fan who regularly checked player profiles, statistics, standings and news stories would have a great user experience, and that’s what they were able to deliver in the face of enormous traffic upswings and under constant load.

A Colossal Streaming Effort in Spain

UEFA took on a huge challenge on behalf of fútbol fans in Spain who couldn’t get to a television for matches.

The organization developed streaming coverage of 28 matches on exclusively for Spain — one of the most enthusiastic groups of fans in the world.

Matches were broadcast in 4K UHD across 36 in-stadium cameras, delivering a crystal-clear picture for fans while jumping many technical hurdles to produce beautiful coverage of the “beautiful game.”

Go to Extra Time with your Performance Testing

While some people can say soccer is “just a game,” the engineering team at UEFA clearly understands the gravity of their responsibility.

Millions of people around the world huddled around any device showing their favorite national soccer team competing in Euro 2016. For people in the U.S., the Euro 2016 app was crucial to checking scores during the group stage, that often happened on weekdays during typical working hours.

Soccer is a game that strikes an emotional response from fans, and a frustrating streaming or application experience is simply unacceptable to viewers.

By preparing themselves with performance testing using Load Impact, UEFA delivered a great experience for millions of people — even if only one fanbase got to truly celebrate at the end. (Congratulations to all of our Portuguese friends!)

This lesson should ring true with engineers in all disciplines:

There are people in the world who really care about what you’re producing. They might rely on it for work, or they might use it as a fun activity to relax and connect with friends.

Either way, the best engineers in the world truly care about the performance of their applications, and that leads to an unforgettable user experience.

This post originally appeared on the Load Impact blog. We decided to post it on Medium because some of you have been slacking and not checking our blog every day. Shame.