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Maddy Quinn for Ably

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How NASCAR delivers realtime racing data to millions of fans around the world

Playing around with streaming realtime data is one thing, but have you ever wondered how you would handle the challenge of streaming realtime data to millions of racing fans?

NASCAR Drive has built an industry-leading platform that handles the distribution of 1.3TB of telemetry data in a single race, while over 80 million fans immerse themselves in the race from an in-cockpit view that offers a live 360 camera feed and access to the same car telematics as the driver and team.

Wondering how they do it?

We spoke to Chad Larter, Senior Director of Technical Operations for NASCAR, in our webinar on January 31st - and you can now watch it on demand!

Make sure not to miss it if you’re interested to learn:

  • How to stream 1.3TBs of data per race to over 80 million fans - complete with highly detailed stats that update in realtime

  • Why NASCAR decided to bring this solution in-house – and how they built the technology to achieve it

  • How NASCAR solved the data surge and streaming challenges

Key takeaways

If you've watched the video, you know there was a lot to take in, so here are some of the key pointe covered:

  • Scalability: Tens of thousands of users connect during major races like Daytona 500, with major traffic spikes occurring following in-race events.

  • Data processing: Over 100 data points are collected, filtered and downsampled to 2 updates/second for realtime fan consumption, across devices - 1.3 TB per race.

  • Platform efficiencies: Only changes in data are broadcasted to clients, using binary deltas, reducing bandwidth consumption.

  • Long polling vs WebSockets: In comparison to their previous long-polling solution the use of a WebSockets platform proved much quicker and puts a lot less stress on networks.

  • Shared insights: Fans gain access to the same detailed data used by teams and OEMs, providing a deeper understanding of the race.

  • Fan engagement: Consumers spend significant time (30 minutes to 3 hours) consuming race data, highlighting the success of delivering an enhanced engagement experience.

  • Customization: Fans want to consume data their way, gaining insights on their favourite drivers/cars - not be limited by broadcasters focusing on the leading cars.

  • More to come: NASCAR are exploring the use of realtime data for leaderboards, chat and additional content - moving away from polling methods.

If you have any questions about how NASCAR is using Pub/Sub Channels, the applications it can power, or how it could work for your use case, please get in touch. We are happy to support you with realtime data streaming best practices, architecture advice, and more.

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