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World Cup qualifier online broadcast 'a success'

Perform says no technical issues were reported

England's first football match to be broadcast only on the web attracted "close to half a million viewers".

Following the collapse of Setanta, which originally purchased the rights to the World Cup qualifier against the Ukraine, it was revealed last week that the match would be broadcast online by Perform, which streams more than 15,000 sporting events a year.

Web users signing up before Wednesday last week were charged just £4.99 to watch the qualifier. This rose to £9.99 for those that signed up between Thursday and Friday, while those opting to sign-up on the day of the match were charged £11.99.

It is estimated that between 250,000 and 300,00 subscriptions were purchased for the game, in which England lost 1-0 to the Ukraine. However the final figures will not be released.

Perform's estimate of 500,000 viewers includes those from the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS), which screened the game free for troops, as well as football fans who watched the match in Odeon cinemas across the UK.

While some viewers complained of slow streaming speeds, the potential meltdown of the web that some had predicted would happen, as football fans attempted to catch the action, never happened.

"There were no technical issues and all customer enquiries were responded to within five minutes," Perform and International football agency Kentaro said.

"Not only have we delivered Britain's largest ever live pay-to-view internet sports audience but commercially the venture has proved itself as a viable model for future games," added Kentaro's CEO Philipp Grothe.

"Technology has ignited a revolution in people's viewing habits and there is a new sports broadcast platform developing on the broadband enabled internet."

Broadband speed test

See also: Rise in World Cup related phishing scams expected

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