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World Cup Breaks Streaming, Social Media Records

14 Jul, 2014 By: Chris Tribbey

The 2014 FIFA World Cup ranked as the most-streamed sporting event of all time, according to data from ESPN, and the July 13 finale between Germany and Argentina broke records for both Twitter and Facebook, the social media services announced.

ESPN’s TV Everywhere app WatchESPN saw viewers log 43.3 million hours (2.6 billion minutes) of live streaming through all 64 matches, and ESPN.com averaged nearly 13 million daily unique visitors and 12 million video starts every day, up 40% and 161%, respectively, from the 2010 World Cup. Across all its digital platforms, ESPN reached 80.7 million unique visitors in June, a new sports category record, the network said.

The July 13 final on ABC brought in an average of 17.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen, making it the most-watched men’s World Cup final ever, and the third most-viewed World Cup game (men’s or women’s) ever, behind only this year’s U.S. vs. Portugal match (18.2 million viewers) and the 1999 women’s final (U.S. vs. China, 18 million viewers).

On WatchESPN, 1.8 million unique viewers watched the final live.

“A fabulous World Cup and unparalleled content created by our cross-platform teams in Brazil clearly captured the attention of fans,” John Skipper, president of ESPN and co-chair of Disney Media Networks, said in a statement. ”ESPN doubled U.S. viewership since the 2006 World Cup and we set industry records for live event streams. We’re proud of our role in helping to grow interest in the global game and our commitment to the sport remains strong.”

An analysis from Adobe Digital Index (ADI) pegged the 2014 FIFA World Cup as the “most mobile” sporting event ever, with one in four online video starts occurring on smart phones or tablets. And social media — Facebook and Twitter specifically — played a major role in how viewers interacted with the games.

“Social media is extremely important during sporting events because it is how fans interact with one another,” said ADI analyst Joe Martin. “Marketers — both sponsors and non-sponsors — can capitalize on the fact that consumers naturally turn to social media during these types of events by meeting them there, with relevant, interesting, and helpful content.”

Facebook reported that the July 13 final was the biggest sporting event in its history, with 88 million people worldwide generating more than 280 million Facebook posts, comments and likes about the match. The United States accounted for the most people discussing the game on Facebook, with 10.5 million.

Meanwhile, Twitter announced there were an average of 618,725 Tweets per minute during the final match, a record for any event for the service.

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