2.1 million viewers live stream Super Bowl online

The first live stream of the Super Bowl drew 2.1 million unique

viewers, NBC said Thursday.

That’s a small fraction of the record 111.3 million viewers that

watched NBC’s broadcast of the big game. But it was still enough to

make it the most-watched single-game sports event online, according

to the network.

Kevin Monaghan, managing director of digital media for NBC

Sports Group, said the live stream ”exceeded our expectations in

every way.”

The New York Giants 21-17 win over the New England Patriots was

streamed on NBCSports.com and NFL.com. The Internet webcast

included optional camera views, tweeting from a handful of

personalities and HD-quality video. But it didn’t feature the live

TV broadcast commercials (they were clickable for on-demand

viewing) or the Madonna halftime show, and the feed lagged behind

the broadcast.

The webcast was available on some mobile phones from

Verizon.

Monaghan framed the live stream not as an alternate viewing

option from broadcast, but as ”a complementary `second screen’

experience” to the televised game.

Previous major sporting events streamed live include the 2010

World Cup by ESPN, the 2010 Olympics by NBC and the annual NCAA

men’s basketball tournament by CBS and Turner Sports. More

recently, ESPN offered live streams of this year’s Rose Bowl and

the Fiesta Bowl, though both of those games were watched by less

than 400,000.

In the 2010 World Cup, ESPN said 1.1 million people watched at

least some part of the USA’s win over Algeria on its website.

But no sporting event is bigger in the U.S. than the Super Bowl,

and NBC’s first live stream of the game was surely a milestone in

sports viewing. The Super Bowl stream had an average user

engagement of 39 minutes per visit.

Hans Schroeder, senior vice president of media strategy and

development for the NFL, said the league ”will continue to look

for more ways to reach our fans.”