World Cup ESPN

ESPN Screen Shot by Re/code


It’s not just you: Lots of people are trying to stream ESPN’s coverage of the U.S.-Germany game. That has caused some issues, the sports giant now admits.

Here’s a terse statement from the cable giant: “First half peaked at more than 1.4 million peak concurrent viewers on WatchESPN, a record. Investigating some limited issues due to unprecedented demand.”

For context: During the Winter Olympics, NBCUniversal* reached a peak of 850,000 concurrent viewers when it streamed the US/Russia Hockey game. Additional context: There are a lot of potential failure points between ESPN’s stream and your phone, tablet or PC. Sorting out who is responsible for what isn’t straightforward — ask Netflix, Verizon and Comcast, for instance.

ESPN’s WatchESPN service is only available to pay TV customers whose pay TV providers have a deal with ESPN. If you’re looking for an alternate method, Spanish-language broadcaster Univision has the game online and doesn’t require a subscription.

Then again, perhaps demand will fall off a bit now that Germans have gone ahead.

Update: No such luck — there are now 1.7 million people watching online, says ESPN.

*NBCUniversal is a minority investor in Re/code.


Disney said "Investigating some limited issues due to unprecedented demand”, but failing before you had 2 million users tells me it was unanticipated demand. 

Roger McNamee
Roger McNamee

On non-US games, the ESPN live streams have been magnificent ... as good as or better than MLB, which is really saying something. That said, the limited availability of Watch ESPN should embarrass everyone at Disney. How can they justify fees that are incremental to cable ... to the same customers for the same service?


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