The U.S. World Cup soccer team wasn't the only winner this past Monday, when the Americans bested Ghana 2-1. WatchESPN.com--the cable sports network's streaming service accessed online or through the WatchESPN app--also had reason to celebrate after the final whistle.
The U.S.-Ghana World Cup match proved to be the most-watched event in WatchESPN.com's history. The game delivered a 469,000 average minute audience on WatchESPN. It also achieved what ESPN calls a "product record," with a total of 1.4 million viewers and 62.4 million minutes viewed.
The runner-up in the most-viewed WatchESPN.com event also took place on Monday, when Germany blew out Portugal in a World Cup match. Even with the 4-0 scoreline, WatchESPN achieved 1,100,000 total viewers for that match.
All told, WatchESPN.com has so far averaged 247,000 viewers per minute across 14 World Cup matches. The online service has averaged 736,000 viewers and 31,900,000 minutes viewed per match.
Best yet from ESPN's perspective: As the World Cup progresses toward the finals, the per-match audience and minutes viewed is bound to grow as FIFA fever builds. (That's a safe bet when your app is essentially the only sanctioned way to stream the World Cup.) Not bad for a market where soccer has often been viewed as an afterthought to football, baseball, basketball and hockey. And it's definitely a sign of the appetite for other ways to watch live sports beyond the traditional TV model.