SBD/June 26, 2014/Media

WatchESPN Could Draw Record Streams With Midweek, Midday U.S.-Germany Match

The U.S.-Germany FIFA World Cup match begins at 12:00pm ET today, and the midday start time means ESPN is not likely to top TV soccer records set during the first two U.S. matches of this tournament. However, there could be streaming records set today on WatchESPN. Each of the top five most-viewed ESPN streams all time have come during this year’s World Cup. The June 16 U.S.-Ghana match holds the top spot with 1.4 million unique viewers, followed by last Sunday's U.S.-Portugal draw with 1.37 million viewers. For comparison, this year’s Florida State-Auburn BCS National Championship game drew 773,000 unique viewers on WatchESPN (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

TOP EVENTS ALL-TIME ON WATCHESPN IN TERMS OF UNIQUE VIEWERS
RANK
EVENT
UNIQUE VIEWERS
1
'14 FIFA World Cup: U.S.-Ghana
1.4 million
2
'14 FIFA World Cup: U.S.-Portugal
1.37 million
3
'14 FIFA World Cup: Mexico-Brazil
1.3 million
4
'14 FIFA World Cup: Germany-Portugal
1.1 million
5
'14 FIFA World Cup: Brazil-Croatia
1.1 million
     

FLOAT UPSTREAM: The AP's Rachel Cohen noted even if fans "get in front of a TV" to watch U.S.-Germany, they "still may use another device to keep an eye on the other Group G match" between Portugal and Ghana. ESPN Senior VP/Product Development Ryan Spoon said that the net's research has shown that many people "now routinely use multiple screens to follow the action, and they use the same apps across multiple devices." WatchESPN telecasts through 40 World Cup games "have averaged 720,000 live unique viewers," up 139% from the '10 tournament in South Africa. A hint of the potential for U.S.-Germany "comes from last week's match between Brazil and Mexico, played on a Tuesday afternoon." With "huge interest among Mexican-Americans, Univision Digital had 1.6 million unique viewers." Unlike WatchESPN, Univision Digital "doesn't require a pay TV subscription at this stage of the tournament," so it "should also draw a big streaming audience" today (AP, 6/25).

CRACK DOWNSTREAM: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Scott Roxborough reports FIFA ahead of this year's World Cup "took the unprecedented move of warning dozen of video websites to be vigilant in preventing users from posting illegal live streams of tournament matches and to take down streams as soon as they appear." FIFA "warned the sites if they didn't comply, criminal charges would follow." Google received "takedown requests under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for 68 domains allegedly screening World Cup matches but rejected most of them, allowing 46 of those sites to remain in its search results." MarkScan, a company working on behalf of several World Cup copyright holders, filed "hundreds of similar DMCA requests with similarly unimpressive results." Several of the MarkScan takedown requests "were for links to articles on legitimate news sites explaining how to legally watch the World Cup online" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 6/26).

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Media, FIFA World Cup, ESPN

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