Michael Steele—Getty Images
By Benjamin Snyder
June 26, 2014

WatchESPN may have struck the biggest win of all on Thursday when 1.7 million online viewers watched simultaneously as Germany defeated the U.S. 1-0 on Thursday at the World Cup in Brazil. That’s a record for the video streaming service, according to the sports broadcaster.

In fact, the online app became so congested with viewers that the streaming service became overloaded at times, preventing those watching online or on mobile devices from enjoying the games in full.

“There were minor issues at the start of the match,” an ESPN spokeswoman said in a statement.”The internet has rarely been tested like this for a sporting event.”

To put the record numbers of concurrent viewers in perspective, the Super Bowl had about 1.1 million viewers on the Fox Sports Go online streaming service, according to a Techcrunch report. Viewership on Thursday also beat out the Sochi Olympics and the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Although the United States team lost the match, it nevertheless advanced to the round of 16. That match will be played Tuesday, when ESPN’s new record – and Internet infrastructure – will be put to the test.

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