Kevin Fitchard, Principal Analyst
Rio de Janeiro's Maracanã or São Paulo's Morumbi may be the premier stadiums for this year's Copa América, but when it comes to streaming the actual matches of Latin America's biggest football event to mobile phones, one host city has beaten both Rio and São Paulo — Porto Alegre. In our analysis of the five Brazilan cities hosting Copa América matches, we found that Porto Alegre scored highest in Opensignal's Video Experience metric.
Porto Alegre's winning score of 60.3 in our 100-point scale was nearly 2 points ahead of São Paulo and Belo Horizonte, which were tied for second place with scores just above 58. Meanwhile, Salvador laid claim to the fourth slot, while the city hosting the final, Rio de Janeiro, ranked last with a score of 55.3. You can think of our Video Experience score as a continuum of video quality: the higher the score, the less time consumers wait for video to begin rendering their devices, the fewer interruptions they'll see after playback begins, and the greater chance the requested video will play at higher resolutions.
While Porto Alegre definitely has an edge over its fellow host cities, the good news for Seleção supporters — as well as for visiting fans for the tournament's other teams — is that all five cities' scores were high enough to earn them a Good rating (55-65) in our Video Experience metric. That means that while video quality can be inconsistent across different video providers and at higher resolutions, at low resolutions consumers generally experience relatively short loading times and infrequent stalling.
In comparison, Brazil as a whole had a Fair Video Experience rating (40-55), meaning that even at lower resolutions video suffers from loading lags and stalling. From a mobile video perspective, Brazil's host cities are much better prepared to handle the Copa América than the country as a whole. But we should throw in one caveat here. Our Video Experience scores are averaged over a three month period, and represent the typical everyday consumer experience. At the Copa América the mobile network experience will be far from typical. Big sporting events cause demand for video to rise and data traffic to spike. Brazilian operators have laid a good foundation for streaming Copa América matches, but we'll have to wait until June 14 to see if that foundation holds.