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Now that FIFA World Cup has officially kicked off, the globe is once again coming together in the name of football.
I find myself thinking back to life during the last tournament. I remember desperately trying to navigate the problematic time difference and watch the games before catching wind of the results. I anguished over pixilated streams of Spanish-only telecasts that I pulled up from my laptop. Bottom line, my World Cup experience was not that great.
But now that the games are being played during a more friendly time zone, I don’t have to contort my life to watch soccer. But even if I did, watching would be a lot easier this time, thanks almost entirely to new technologies.
At the start of the last World Cup tournament in 2010, smartphones and tablets, in the form we know today, were only just starting to gain popularity. Watching videos on our phones was still a newer concept with mixed results. This year, it’s a whole new story. We literally have the World Cup in the palm of our hands.
In addition to the full live TV schedule, ESPN is streaming 54 matches through WatchESPN to pay TV subscribers on laptops, smartphones, tablets and TVs. It’s effortless to watch full live games and highlights, chat with other fans and read the latest news from any device, anywhere — even a broom closet if you’re trying to hide from your boss. See all the ways you can watch the Cup here.
Still not convinced? During the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, 6.9 million unique viewers visited the streaming site, ESPN3.com. Jump ahead four years to the 2014 Winter Olympics and 61.8 million unique users visited NBC’s digital platforms, an increase of 800 percent over the World Cup 2010 numbers.
For The World Cup 2014, ESPN is already experiencing record-breaking numbers with only its first game, Brazil v. Croatia. This opener produced a record 1.1 million unique viewers and 50 million minutes across all streams and devices, up 132% and 172%, respectively, from the first game at The World Cup 2010. We expect these numbers to continue to pour in throughout the rest of the tournament, eclipsing the stats from four years ago.
Here’s to hoping that the US vs. Ghana outcome will also change for the better this year. Don’t miss the first game for the U.S. National Team tonight at 6:00PM EST.