Soccer fans and patriots around the globe have been gearing up for the FIFA World Cup for months now, but since the games began it looks like one of the true winners is ESPN3. ESPN3, ESPNÂ’s broadband network for the live streaming of sports games, has seen a huge increase in traffic since the 2010 World Cup games began. ESPN3 had a whopping 1.7 million viewers in the first 4 days of the World Cup games alone.
The World Cup has not only been a catalyst for an increase in traffic at ESPN3, but has also boosted ESPNÂ’s online and mobile traffic in general. According to NewTeeVee, ESPN3Â’s parent site ESPN.com has also had a huge boost in traffic, with over 1.7 million views on World Cup content, including game highlights and analysis. ESPN Mobile users also watched nearly 1 million videos on their mobile devices during the first four days of the World Cup. ESPNÂ’s World Cup app was also downloaded over 1 million times within the first 4 game days. ItÂ’s clear that these statistics are good for ESPN, but what do they mean for us?
The fact that so many people are streaming games on the web instead of watching them on television, or in addition to watching them on television, points to a much more cross-platform-oriented future. ESPN has been doing research through a new research initiative known as ESPN XP to discover more about consumersÂ’ media behavior, particularly during the World Cup. Research from ESPN XP showed that “65% of ESPN/ABCÂ’s audience was exposed to the World Cup only on television, 24% were exposed on TV and some other platform, and 11% consumed the World Cup solely on some platform other than television.”
That 24% that is watching the World Cup on television in addition to another platform is our future. These viewers are also consuming more of the World Cup, watching for more hours a day on average than viewers only watching on television or only watching on some other platform. Viewers may never stop watching television. However, now that we have other devices through which we can watch sporting events and television programs (i.e. our computers, mobile devices, smart phones, etc.) we can watch television programming when our televisions arenÂ’t even present.
The more platforms used by viewers, the more time they spend watching World Cup games. After all, World Cup games are scheduled at all times throughout the day and non-television platforms gives viewers the opportunity to watch from anywhere, be it home, work, or even on a bus. Cross-platform viewing is convenient and is the wave of the future. Have you been watching the World Cup? Are you watching on television, online or on multiple platforms?