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Twitter frenzy: Thrilling Euro soccer match takes tweets-per-second record from Super Bowl

An extraordinary European soccer match between Spanish side Barcelona and British team Chelsea saw a new record set for tweets-per-second (TPS) during a single sporting event. 

According to a post on the Twitter UK blog, total global traffic on the popular social networking platform peaked at an astonishing 13,684 TPS towards the end of Tuesday night’s game, beating the previous record of 12,233 TPS set during the Super Bowl in February. What made it more surprising was that the Barcelona-Chelsea Champions League clash wasn’t even the final game of the competition.

Big game

So how come so many people were tweeting during a single soccer match? Well, for starters, the match will have been watched by soccer fans not only in Spain and Britain, but also across the whole of Europe and beyond.

On top of that, it was the second leg of a semi-final in a competition which brings together the best teams from across the European continent.  Chelsea were traveling to the Spanish team’s stadium with a one-zero lead.

With players like Lionel Messi and Andrés Iniesta, Barcelona, who won the tournament last year, went into the game as favorites, confident it could overturn the one-goal deficit in its intimidating 100,000-seat stadium — the biggest in Europe — and one which over the years has proved a notoriously difficult venue for visiting teams.

The first bit of action came just past the half-hour mark when Barcelona’s Busquets put the ball in the back of the net. One-zero the Spanish side.

Diminishing odds

A few minutes later, Barcelona’s players were further emboldened when Chelsea’s captain, John Terry, was shown the red card for an off-the-ball incident. Then Barcelona went and scored another.

Two-zero down? Chelsea down a player? At the Nou Camp Stadium? Whoever was tweeting at this point will surely have been saying, “It’s over for the London team.”

But the game proceeded to twist and turn with Chelsea getting one back just before half-time — giving them a vital away goal — and Barcelona’s Messi missing a penalty in the 49th minute.

According to Twitter’s data, soccer fans using the social networking site hadn’t even got going yet. The site really went into overdrive in the final minute of the game, when Fernando Torres — a player who’s been having trouble scoring goals ever since arriving at the club from Liverpool last year — was put through on his own.

Twitter frenzy

He only had the keeper to beat. Score this and Torres would wrap it up for Chelsea and guarantee his team’s appearance in the Champions League final next month. With a cool head, the forward took his chance and slotted the ball into the back of the net, helping Chelsea win the tie 3-2 on aggregate. It’s at this point that Twitter went bananas.

With all the excitement, it’s a wonder soccer fans could steady themselves to tap out the letters of their tweet. In fact, you’d think most would’ve been glued to the TV watching the replay and celebrations rather than stuck on their handset, but each to their own.

With smartphone ownership rising all the time and the Olympics just around the corner, expect to see the sport-related TPS record broken again before too long.

[Top image: Ahmad Faizal Yahya ; bottom: Guido Vrola / Shutterstock]