The final ESPN3.com and UnivisionFutbol.com streaming viewership numbers for the FIFA World Cup provide the latest evidence that sports are the shining star of the online video world for both free and paid viewing. Here's some sample data for recent free online sporting events:
FIFA World Cup: ESPN3.com (7.4 million unique viewers, 15.7 million hours viewed), UnivisionFutbol.com (10 million hours viewed)
2010 NCAA March Madness: CBSSports.com (8.3 million unique visits to MMOD video player, 11.7 million hours of video and audio)
After much build-up, the World Cup is finally upon us. Major brands' World Cup-themed ads have been a big part of fueling awareness, and the folks at Visible Measures have been tracking their viewership. The top 5 most-viewed ads include ones from Puma, Coca-Cola, Carlsberg, Pepsi, and of course the insanely-popular ad (22 million+) views from Nike.
The World Cup games are going to get a lot of attention online, with both ESPN3 and Univision planning lots of live online and mobile streaming. To access ESPN3 you need to be a subscriber to one of the broadband ISPs that has a deal to carry the online network (AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Cox, etc.). Univision is open to all, but unless you speak Spanish you may want to mute the audio.
The World Cup once again shows up how important major sporting events are to online video. Past events like the Summer and Winter Olympics, March Madness, MLB.tv, Sunday Night Football and now the World Cup showcase online and mobile video at their best, providing anywhere access, interactivity and loads of additional information. The crown jewel of sports that still remains outside of online video's reach is the Super Bowl. If and when it gets live-streamed, online video will really have made it big-time.
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