World Cup Smashes Internet Traffic Records
On the opening day of the World Cup last June 11th, 12.07 million visitors per minute were on the Internet worldwide, or 130% more people than are usually online. World Cup South Africa 2010 set a new Internet audience record, surpassing even the most recent U.S. presidential election that saw Barack Obama elected President, which drew 8.5 million hits per minute (according to AkamaiTechnologies Inc)
In the U.S. Hispanic market, UnivisionFutbol.com attracted 34.7 million visitors between its online and cell phone offers during the month-long World Cup. More than 265,000 users watched over 10 million hours of live video (an average of one and a half hours per session, per user), transferring World Cup content to mobile phones to the tune of about 450,000 downloads.
ESPN’s 2010 FIFA World Cup mobile applications were downloaded 2.5 million times in the U.S. and Hispanic markets. Approximately 1 million devices were online on average per day during the World Cup, logging close to 499 million page views. ESPN.com drew 6.9 million users, and 355,000 visitors watched the Spain-Holland final live on ESPN.com.
In Latin America, more than 21 million Internet users tuned in to watch matches online during the first round of World Cup play, which lasted two weeks, totaling more than five million hours of live video. Almost half a million users were connected to this technological tool. Televisa Deportes and Esmas.com posted the highest audience figures for World Cup webcasts.
Spanish site Marca.com broke online audience records, with more than 44 million unique users. Marca.com is the online arm of Marca (TV and Radio), and is part of Grupo de Comunicacion Unidad Editorial, which registered a total of 67,864,083 million users among all of its sites in June.
Exactly 44,468,434 million unique visitors visited Marca’s site to follow World Cup play. In May, the site had already set a world record with 28 million users, and shattered it again only one month later. The site posted a 58% increase in visitors from one month to the next, with 16.5 million more users in the month of June.
During the entire month of World Cup coverage, daily web traffic at Marca.com averaged 3,422,494 visits, reaching an overall total of 166,868,878 in June. According to Marca.com, “the international impact of a sporting event such as the World Cup and the success of La Roja (Spain’s national soccer team) contributed to reaching this mythical audience, which provided an incredible boost to the success of such products as the World Cup interactive calendar, which had a tremendous following and received wide praise from all corners of the planet.”
Percentage-wise, the breakdown of Marca.com’s traffic was 66% from Spain, 17% from Latin America and 4% from the U.S.
Alvaro Varona, Creative Director of Marca.com, explains the reasons behind the site’s high traffic volume: “We know search engines played an important part, but we know that most of our traffic is direct and comes from our home page. We’ve created a website for the user, not for the search engines.”
In Mexico, mediotiempo.com attracted a total of 4 million users during the World Cup, with more than 60 million page views (Source: Google Analytics). The breakdown of traffic to the mediotiempo.com site was 77% from Mexico, 18% from the U.S., 3% from Spanish America, and 2% from other countries.
According to Miguel Ramirez, Business Director of Grupo Expansion Interactive, the site’s numbers grew 35% in comparison with its monthly average for the rest of the year. Ramirez tells Portada that the group aims to maintain at least half of that percentage moving forward, “by continuing the work we’ve done to date, offering the best content and the most objectivity.”
In Argentina, during the month of May alone, more than 4.7 million unique visitors sent traffic soaring on the three main websites dedicated to the World Cup: Sudáfrica 2010: “Misión Mundial” (www.misionmundial.com.ar) and “Ole Mundial” (www.ol.com.ar/mundial/), both owned by Clarin, and “Cancha Llena” (www.canchallena.com), owned by La Nación.
From the moment of its launch in March, “Misión Mundial” became the audience leader, averaging 180,000 unique visitors daily and 2,077,520 million hits during the month of May.
“Ole Mundial”, which debuted on May 18, broke records with 1,352,390 unique visitors in just under 15 days, beating “Cancha Llena,” the sports site of La Nación, which also features other sports coverage, in addition to soccer.
In the U.S., the ABC television network, together with its ESPN cable affiliate, posted an audience of 15,545,000 viewers for its live coverage of Spain's 1-0 win over the Netherlands. This figure is set to increase in the following days, after data for less important markets in terms of population are accounted for, according to the Nielsen Media Research.
In addition to the Anglo market audience, another 8.8 million viewers followed the match on Spanish network Univision, bringing the total audience for the final to 24.3 million people— an unprecedented figure for U.S. television.
The round of 16 match between Mexico and Argentina had already garnered the best audience ratings for Univision with 9.4 million viewers. Still, the 8.8 million that tuned in for the championship match confirmed the audience’s full support for Spain’s national team, even after all the Latin American teams had been eliminated.
Cadena Cuatro’s broadcast of the Argentina-Mexico match drew 6,034,000 viewers and a 41.9% television share, making it the network’s most-watched World Cup match to date. More than 12.5 million viewers tuned in for at least one minute. In the "golden minute" of the match (at 10:04 pm), 7.38 million fans were tuned in (a 43.8% share).
Records were broken in Spain, naturally, which was the 2010 World Cup winner. The Spain-Netherlands final drew an audience of 14.5 million people in Spain (a 86.9% share) and more than 7.5 million viewers (a 55.4% share) witnessed the victory tour of “La Roja” on television, when the winning team boarded a bus to celebrate its victory through the streets of Madrid.
It was the most-watched television broadcast since audiences have been officially measured. When Iniesta scored the winning goal, 16.8 million viewers were tuned in to witness it (a 91% share). Andalusia and Catalonia were each estimated to have pulled in more than 3.4 million viewers, a ratings success for Telecinco, which owned the broadcasting rights. Telecinco ended the day with a 34.4% audience share, pushing the share of the other Spanish networks below 8%.
Networks La 1, Telecinco, Antena 3 and Cuatro altered their programming schedules with extended specials lasting more than ten consecutive hours. Most networks began their coverage of the celebrations in the early afternoon and ended it well past midnight.
The Spanish team’s Welcome Home special on La 1 (“La Roja en TVE ¡Bienvenidos a casa!”) was seen by an average of 2.58 million people (a 20.6% share). Telecinco covered the team’s return home with a special, titled “Los Héroes Vuelven a Casa”, which drew 2.464 million viewers (an 18.8% share). Other specials, such Sogecable’s “Sudafrica 2010: Cuatro con la Roja,” were viewed by 1.613 million people (a 12.7% share), while Antena 3’s “Bienvenidos Campeones” drew 724,000 viewers (a 5.7% share).
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