World Cup Internet Streaming Record

Monday's USA-Ghana match drew 1.4 million viewers to WatchESPN, its biggest-ever event

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is still in its opening round, but the soccer tourney has already broken the record for peak amount of online-video streaming bandwidth as delivered by Akamai Technologies, and also set new high-water marks for ESPN’s and Univision’s digital-video services.

Monday’s Germany-Portugal match drove a peak of 4.3 terabits per second of streaming video on Akamai’s content-delivery network, blowing past the previous high of 3.5 Tbps as measured for the U.S.-Canada men’s hockey semifinal during the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The streaming-video peak for the USA-Ghana match came in at 3.2 Tbps, behind last Friday’s 3.4 Tbps for the Spain-Netherlands contest, according to Akamai.

For ESPN, the USA-Ghana match was the biggest-ever event for WatchESPN: 1.4 million people watched the American team defeat Ghana on the digital-video service for a total of 62.4 million viewer minutes. The Germany-Portugal match was WatchESPN’s second-best event ever for unique viewers (1.1 million) and average-minute audience (418,000), and third in minutes viewed (52.6 million).

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For Univision, Germany-Portugal scored 2 million online-video viewers, second only to the Mexico-Cameroon match on June 13, which generated 2.8 million views. (NBC Sports claims to still hold the record for a U.S. sporting match streamed online, with 2.1 million unique viewers — as opposed to “views,” which can include users restarting a stream — of the USA-Canada hockey match in February.) Univision’s stream of USA-Ghana notched 1.7 million online-video viewers, ranking as the fourth most-watched live stream on Univision Digital to date.

On TV, ESPN’s coverage of USA-Ghana was the best ever for a World Cup game on the cabler, averaging 11.09 million viewers on Monday, while Univision drew 4.8 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

And as the World Cup plays on, culminating in the July 13 final, the digital viewing figures stand to only increase.

The worldwide soccer mania extended to social networks, although the relative unpopularity of the sport in the U.S. continues to be reflected in the numbers.

Globally, about 10 million people had more than 15 million Facebook interactions related to the USA’s opening 2-1 win over Ghana. Germany-Portugal was bigger with over 22 million people engaged in more than 46 million Facebook interactions about the match. Neither held a candle to Brazil’s 3-1 defeat of Croatia on June 12, which generated 58 million comments and more than 140 million interactions.

On Twitter, the Germany-Portugal match was the second-most tweeted World Cup match so far, with over 8.9 million tweets (trailing Brazil-Croatia with 12.2 million Tweets).

By comparison, 4.9 million Tweets were sent during the U.S. vs. Ghana match. Those included this Vine message from President Obama (retweeted more than 2,100 times):

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