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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