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Summary:

With the U.S. team, Mexico and many others heading home, will online traffic for World Cup streams and Twitter live updates plummet? First stats seem to signal that interest in the tournament is ebbing off, but the U.S. team’s last game still saw some significant traffic.

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The US soccer team’s loss against Ghana caused another huge spike of Internet traffic this weekend, with Akamai reporting 227,231 hits per second on World Cup broadcaster sites serviced by the CDN during the final minutes of the game, compared to 19,788 per second at the beginning of the game.

The game also caused some significant activity on Twitter, with Trendrr tracking about 120,000 tweets per hour for the keyword USA and 90,000 tweets per hour for the keyword Ghana.

That’s a lot of tweets, but not as much as caused by the 91st minute miracle in the game against Slovenia, which caused some 175,000 tweets per hour. The number of tweets also wasn’t high enough to cause any significant problems for Twitter, which saw its service struggle earlier this month under the flood of World Cup-related activity.

Akamai has also seen more traffic before, measuring record-breaking 421,000 hits per second during the game between South Africa and Uruguay last week. Much of this can likely be explained by the fact that users tune in online when they’re at work, but prefer the big screen when they’re at home on the weekend. In fact, Nielsen said today that the U.S. vs. Ghana game drew the biggest U.S. soccer audience ever to TV broadcasts.

And World Cup online traffic hasn’t been down across the board: Univision did see some record traffic this Sunday for its Univisionfutbol.com site, delivering more than 12.4 million page views and up to 72,000 simultaneous streams on Sunday due to the matchup between Argentinia and Mexico.

However, with both the U.S. and Mexico out, one has to wonder if this will be it, in terms of online traffic records for the World Cup, at least for the U.S.-based audience? It’s only natural that tournaments see their audience gradually erode as people’s favorite teams are sent home. CBS shared some statistics about the online audience of March Madness on Demand last week that showed some of the biggest crowds tuning in early on, with numbers gradually declining towards the end.

The World Cup is admittedly somewhat of a different beast, so we will have to wait and see whether other countries will be able to capture the world’s imagination, in which case the coming rounds could deliver even more traffic records.

Picture of U.K. soccer fan courtesy of Flickr user ggjsmith.

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  1. Please take into account that espn 3 didn’t stream the usa game on sat

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