We Had More Viewers, No We Had More Viewers

File this under, “kids will be kids”.

Two sports media entities are claiming they’ve had the most online viewers for a sporting event.  Let me explain.

It all started when ESPN sent out a press release yesterday claiming the following:

The U.S. vs. Algeria game marked a milestone for online video, logging the largest U.S. audience ever for a sports event on the web.  It attracted nearly 1.1 million unique viewers with an average time spent viewing of 43 minutes.

CBS Sports saw the news report with ESPN claiming the audience eclipsed the online viewing of the Duke/Butler NCAA Championship Game.  CBS PR responded thusly:

As anyone who has followed NCAA March Madness on Demand (MMOD) since we started streaming the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship in 2003 will tell you, CBSSports.com has always said we get the biggest audiences for the first round games. With that in mind, it was incorrect for ESPN to assume the Duke-Butler championship game, which was viewed by 48 million people on CBS Television in primetime, would produce the largest online number for the tournament. Unfortunately, we were never contacted by ESPN to confirm that the Duke-Butler game was our largest single game from the 2010 tournament before they reported it.

To set the facts straight, we pulled the per game streaming data for 2010 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship on MMOD and the attached chart shows traffic for the individual games – 3rd party sourced by Akamai – with the two World Cup games and the data that ESPN is reporting.

Here’s the chart:

Are these the facts?  Who knows.  Do you care?  Can’t we all get along?

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