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As the final match of the World Cup 2014 wraps up this weekend with Germany vs. Argentina, many Americans will soon forget about soccer for another four years. While we may not be a soccer nation, we did go absolutely bananas for the tournament this year, destroying viewership numbers from 2010 across all platforms. Why was this? Well, take our lukewarm feelings for soccer, mix it with our deep passion for live TV (especially sports), toss in a classic underdog story, and add a dash of international solidarity and you get a pretty solid explanation for America’s World Cup mania. So as we prepare for the finals this weekend, here are our five favorite signs that this has been the best World Cup EVER!
1. AMERICANS FELL HARD FOR TEAM USA
As a nation we may not all love the beautiful game of soccer, but we do love an underdog. This year, we sported a young team who’s own coach counted us out. We were placed in the so-called “Group of Death” against global soccer super powers. When the international media dismissed us, we wanted to prove them all wrong. It was the goose-bump inducing underdog story that we could all watch together (and we didn’t get trounced by Germany 7-1!)
2. U.S. WORLD CUP BUZZ BOOSTS TV EVERYWHERE
People were enjoying the World Cup 2014 on TV, everywhere. Streaming numbers are crushing the numbers from the tournament four years ago. WatchESPN hit an all-time streaming record with 1.7 million viewing the U.S.-Germany match. That beats the previous 1.1 million record set by Super Bowl XLVIII stream on Fox Sports Go app. We know futbal won’t overtake American football in this lifetime, but the World Cup scored some impressive numbers.
3. THE WORLD TURNS TO TWITTER TO EXPRESS EMOTION
Participating in the conversation on social media has become part of the live TV entertainment experience and World Cup fever fueled record-breaking social chatter. Brazil’s devastating loss to Germany during the semifinal match inspired 35.6 million tweets, making it the most-discussed single sports game ever on Twitter.
4. THE WORLD CUP MOVES UP IN THE RANKS FOR SPORTS TV PROGRAMMING
The U.S.-Portugal match attracted 24.7 million TV viewers across ESPN and Univision, the highest for any televised soccer game in US history. That’s comparable to the BCS Championship Game and more than the NBA Finals, the World Series and the NHL Playoffs.
5. WE LOVE BEING PART OF A BILLION-PERSON PARTY
There’s something special about watching the same event on TV that so many across the globe are also watching at the very same time. About one billion people watched the World Cup 2010 finals. How many will watch this year? The World Cup is a rare chance to join with the rest of the globe in enjoying something purely positive and entirely indulgent. It’s designed to make us proud, make us smile. Who wouldn’t want to get behind that?