Give Thanks for Football: Saluting and Supporting a Holiday Tradition




Football fans traditionally have great cause to give thanks on Thanksgiving.

On a day when Americans are packing their stomachs, the NFL packs three games into its mid-week schedule, and college football adds a few of its own. That’s not counting the longtime high school football rivalries that are settled – at least for one year — in regional pockets around the country.

This football love creates major demand for data, and Equinix data centers are helping media companies meet modern expectations for enjoying this Thanksgiving tradition, which has roots in the 19th century.

The nation celebrated Thanksgiving only sporadically after the first feast in Plymouth in 1621. But that changed when President Lincoln re-established Thanksgiving as a national holiday in 1863 in an effort to unite a nation divided by the Civil War. Football was linked to Thanksgiving just six years later, shortly after the first-ever college football game, between Rutgers and Princeton. A Nov. 17, 1869, item in The Evening Telegraph in Philadelphia announced that “a foot-ball match between twenty-two players of the Young America Cricket Club and the Germantown Cricket Club will take place on Thanksgiving Day at 12 ½ o’clock, on the grounds of the Germantown Club.”

By the end of the 19th century, New England town teams had begun Thanksgiving football traditions, but the holiday game didn’t start in the professional leagues until 1934. That was the Lions’ first year in Detroit, and ownership figured a holiday game with the Chicago Bears was worth the risk to attract attention in a town much more interested in baseball’s Tigers.

The Dallas Cowboys began their Thanksgiving tradition in 1966, and the Lions and Cowboys have remained Thanksgiving Day fixtures as the NFL’s popularity on that day has boomed. Last year, the Cowboys-Washington Redskins Thanksgiving game drew 28.7 million viewers, tops among any show in the entire fall season. Meanwhile, the day’s other two Thanksgiving games also commanded massive audiences.

This demand for Thanksgiving football is accompanied by increasing demand for related data and content, including video, statistics and analysis. Media companies need to move this information quickly and distribute it to far-flung markets. This requires staging data and content in multiple locations and connecting it to fast, efficient networks. For these reasons, many media companies have set up data centers in Equinix facilities. By colocating with network providers and content distribution partners in these data centers, media companies create direct, reliable links to those partners, increasing the speed of data transmissions and simultaneously reducing costs.

So proximity doesn’t just matter to the football fans looking to get closer to the action on Thanksgiving Day. Through Equinix data centers, proximity to partners makes it easier for media companies to actually help deliver a holiday tradition to sports fans everywhere

Photo by Abigail Johanna Photography