Summary:

The World Cup has been a big traffic machine for ESPN3. The broadband network tracked close to 800,000 soccer fans tuning in for the match between the U.S. and Slovenia. Competitor Univisionfutbol.com on the other hand had its best day when Mexico faced off against France.

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The World Cup continues to attract large audiences online as millions of sports fans watch the tournament while they’re stuck at work.

U.S. soccer aficionados can tune in on two different websites to get their fix, both of which feature their own set of advantages and challenges: ESPN3 doesn’t carry all of the games, and the site’s live stream can only be accessed by some 70 percent of all broadband households, but is available with bitrates of up to 1.8 Mbps. Univisionfutbol.com, on the other hand, is free, but lacks a dedicated HD option — plus the commentary is in Spanish. So in the first week of the tournament, which site proved more popular?

So far it looks like ESPN3 has won this one fair and square, no overtime necessary: ESPN3 clocked 5.7 million hours of World Cup video viewing from June 11 to June 18, with close to 3.4 million viewers watching for, on average, more than 90 minutes. The game between the U.S. and Slovenia was seen by 798,911 unique viewers, some of which tuned in after the fact for an on-demand replay. Mobile has also done pretty well for the broadcaster, with ESPN Mobile tracking 1.8 million mobile video views since the tournament started.

Univisionfutbol, on the other hand, tracked a total of 2.5 million hours of video from June 11 to June 17, with more than a quarter million daily unique streams and viewers tuning in for 80 minutes, on average. (Note: Univision did not provide us with data for June 18). Close to 200,000 viewers alone tuned in to see the face-off between Mexico and France.

Of course, the U.S. isn’t the only country with cubicle workers glued to their screen to follow their team. UK-based broadcaster ITV says its online live stream of the World Cup attracted more than a million unique viewers last week. ITV saw a peak of 204,000 simultaneous viewers during the match between the Netherlands and Denmark, according to paidContent:UK. On average, around 130,000 viewers tune in at the same time.

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