By the skin of their teeth, Team USA advanced to the Round of 16 on goal differential—tied on points with Portugal—losing 1-0 to Germany on a rain soaked Thursday evening. It was a tepid performance by the U.S., with Germany dominating most of the possession (as expected). But only does a loss feel like a true win in football. And an especially big win for ESPN, which announced the match was its most popular stream ever.
The sports programming network said U.S.A. vs. Germany brought in 1.7 million concurrent viewers to its WatchESPN service, more than any other event ever. Not bad; it highlights the meteoric rise of football over the past few years among American fans. The stakes were pretty high this match, to be fair, although the U.S. should have advanced to the next round in its previous match against Portugal this past Sunday. It only added to today’s drama—and the drama of this crazy World Cup.
With such high demand on its streaming network, many people had trouble even connecting to WatchESPN. ESPN said it was busy investigating issues during the match’s first half after many complaints filtered in through Twitter and other social network. Now that it knows better, hopefully that means ESPN will get its act together for U.S.A.’s Round of 16 match on Monday (3 p.m. ET). The final stats in terms of how much data was being used per second won’t be available until tomorrow, but seeing as ESPN could hardly keep up, we’re guessing it was pretty high.