Sunday afternoon wasn’t just bad for Steven Gerrard – it was a dark (screen) time for Sky Go and Now TV users trying to watch the crucial clash via broadband.
It was always going to be a challenge for broadband-powered TV as the 2pm face-off of Liverpool and Chelsea was followed at 4pm by Crystal Palace against Manchester City.
A technical hitch hit servers for both Sky Go and Now TV at around 3.30pm, preventing new users logging in and knocking out some who were already online.
Now TV services were fully restored by 5.50pm, while Sky Go services weren’t completely fixed until 6.20pm.
Sky said: “We’re so sorry some customers experienced interruptions to their NOW TV and Sky Go services yesterday. We’re working round the clock to investigate the cause.”
The outage even hit some users watching other content on Now TV using a Sky Movies or Entertainment month pass, but Sky was keen to note that the ‘vast majority’ of users who were already watching weren’t affected.
Sky said all Sky Sports Day Pass users will be refunded and other users will be contacted with a gesture of goodwill.
It’s the second time this month that Now TV has been brought down by too much demand: the debut episode of Game of Thrones season four left many Now TV customers as disappointed as a Westeros wedding guest.
It’s a problem inherent to using the one-to-one technology of broadband for one-to-many broadcasting: most of the time these services have relatively low usage, but they have to cope with surges of demand for key events.
Traditional broadcast technologies don’t suffer from this: a TV transmitter or satellite will reach the same number people, regardless of how many choose to tune in.
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