Americans go digital for World Cup experience in record numbers

Americans go digital for World Cup experience in record numbers

World Cup 2014

Americans go digital for World Cup experience in record numbers

U.S. Soccer World Cup Viewing Party - USMNT vs Belgium

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By CAITLIN MURRAY

From a scheduling standpoint, the 2014 World Cup hasn’t been ideal for the average American. The games generally occur in the middle of a weekday when most people are at work.

But all that’s seemed to do is drive viewers to websites and apps instead of television sets as the World Cup is smashing online streaming records in the U.S.

Americans have watched 30 million hours of the tournament via its website and apps, crushing the previous record 20.4 million viewing hours during NBC’s 2012 Olympics coverage from London, the Financial Times reported.

Comcast, the largest cable company in the U.S., has reported similar findings — the 2014 World Cup has been its most-streamed online event. The company had 7.8 million live steams for the 2012 Olympics and already 9.2 million live streams for the 2014 World Cup through the first 18 days of tournament.

The new record may be forced, in part, by the fact that many Americans are at work during the World Cup games and have no choice but to stream on their devices. It also helps that streaming options are more accessible than any previous World Cup.

But the digital numbers, along with new records in TV viewership, probably signal the popularity of soccer is growing in America. To wit, FIFA has reported that American fans make up 20 percent of FIFA’s global digital audience. Americans have been spending more time on FIFA’s website and apps than fans in Brazil, Germany, England and France combined, FIFA said.

U.S Soccer also topped Twitter metrics, with goalkeeper Tim Howard as the most mentioned player in the World Cup from June 24-29, according to Nielsen — that’s one day before Howard set the record for most saves in a World Cup match. Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Colombia’s James Rodriguez followed in mentions.

The USA-Germany game had the highest Twitter audience as of June 29, with 11.5 million unique Twitter accounts seeing tweets about the game. There were 2.5 million tweets about that match, which was just less than the 2.6 million during Mexico-Netherlands.

The full viewership data for the television broadcast of USA-Belgium has not yet been released, but the WatchESPN app peaked at 1.5 million concurrent viewers during it.

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What do you think of this news? What does this say about America’s love of soccer and Americans migrating away from television?

Share your thoughts below.

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