Soccer / Sports

USA-Germany World Cup match brings big online audience

TV ratings for Thursday's USA versus Germany World Cup match weren't as big as the American team's tie with Portugal on Sunday.

But it was huge day for online streaming video as many people tuned in while sitting at their desks.

ESPN's telecast of the United States' 0-1 loss averaged 10.8 million viewers, down from the 18.2 million who watched the USA-Portugal game, which was the highest-rated soccer match ever across all U.S. television networks.

On Univision, Thursday's match delivered 3.4 million viewers, compared with 6.5 million for the Sunday telecast.

The drop is certainly thanks in part to the fact that the Thursday match aired during the workday, kicking off when many fans on the West Coast were just arriving at their offices and job sites. Sunday's telecast began in the afternoon.

And the game got a big boost on the Web.

Coverage on the Internet streaming service WatchESPN added more than 1 million viewers on average to the television audience, more than doubling the average minute online viewership of the Portugal game. Its peak number of concurrent users (1.7 million) marked a record for the platform.

That's despite technical problems many users reportedly experienced when trying to watch online during the first half.

Overall, U.S. viewership for the World Cup is higher than the 2010 tournament. World Cup coverage on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC have averaged a combined 4.27 million viewers, up 50 percent from four years ago.

The U.S. soccer viewership has another chance to post big numbers. After the loss to Germany, the U.S. is advancing beyond group play, having earned a spot in the round of 16, meaning the team will face Belgium next week.

That match takes place on Tuesday.

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