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U.S. Soccer Loss a Big Win Online

In case you're one of the millions of Americans who don't follow soccer, the U.S. lost its World Cup bid to the small African nation of Ghana yesterday. And a record-breaking number of people watched it happen online.

ESPN streamed the game live with the help of content delivery network provider Akamai .

Akamai said that, by 12:00 PM EST on June 22, it recorded the highest number of peak users per minute on its network since it began publicly posting its Net Usage Index for News last August.

At its peak, the Akamai network was serving nearly 7.3 million users per minute with most of that traffic coming from the U.S. The U.S. World Cup loss eclipsed the network's previous record of 5.5 million users per minute, which was set earlier this year on the first day of the NCAA 2006 Basketball tournament.

The Super Bowl, which many Americans would consider to be the premier sporting event in the U.S. was not broadcast live online this year. But there were some post-Super Bowl XL materials online, particularly related to Super Bowl ads.

On February 6, post-Super Bowl XL online coverage peaked at just over 3 million users per minute, which places the event at number 10 on Akamai's list.

Akamai's Net Usage Index for News is not, however, a direct correlation to the actual number of people who may have viewed a particular event online.

"The Net Usage Index for News does not claim that a single news event accounts for all Web news traffic at any given time, but the Index can be used to correlate worldwide interest in specific news events with relative audience size," according to Akamai.

That said, Akamai's network is hardly a stranger to large media events.

In July 2005, together with Yahoo and NASA, it helped to broadcast the space agency's return to flight mission.

In the same month, Deep Impact's collision with the Tempel 1 comet generated approximately 80 million page views.



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