3.2 million. That's the total amount of viewers that streamed the Germany-U.S. World Cup match on ESPN's live-streaming channel, WatchESPN, this Thursday. The telecast drew 1.7 million peak concurrent viewers, which is the highest number of viewers watching an online event simultaneously. That number breaks Fox's previous claim that they had broken the online streaming record for a U.S. sports event with its Superbowl online telecast that had 1.1 million peak concurrent viewers.
This adds to other records from this World Cup. Last Sunday's game between the U.S. and Portugal had over 25 million viewers across all platforms. Not only was this a record breaking high amount of viewers for the sport, but Sunday's game reached more people than the 2013 World Series (14.9 million) or the 2014 NBA finals (15.5 million), two of the "big four" sports in America.
Although, it may not quiet the naysayers like Ann Coulter who think that watching soccer is "a sign of the nation's moral decay," the numbers underline an intense interest in the world's most popular sport. Americans are finally experiencing the rest of the world's fervor for futbol.
But soccer still has a long way to go. The nation's most watched sporting event is still the Super Bowl. This year the event reached a whopping 111.5 million people across all platforms, reports Quartz.
So far, World Cup matches have only averaged 4.3 million viewers. But audiences are up 50% from viewership of the 2010 games. The surge in viewers is partially attributed to a better time frame for live watching; this year's games have been played mainly in the afternoons in the U.S. Americans are streaming games during work hours and gathering at bars to cheer on the home team. And as the U.S. team continues to advance, patriotic loyalty will surely kick in even more, boosting ratings even further.