Thousands in US turn out to watch World Cup match

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 26, 2014 at 7:37 pm •  Published: June 26, 2014

"We don't have many moments where you can find a common interest among a big chunk of that population," he said. "Sports, and in particular a World Cup-type event with a national team — and tense and dramatic sporting moments — really bring people together."

President Obama watched the match on Air Force One on his way to Minnesota. At the Transportation Department in Washington, officials worried that so many employees would watch online from their desks that it would slow down the agency's computer network.

"We are going to monitor bandwidth utilization throughout the day and we'll plan to block the streaming sites should we encounter any network issues," Todd Simpson, the department's associate chief information officer, warned in an email to workers.

John Challenger, the CEO of executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., estimated the match could cost U.S. companies $390 million in lost wages. But Challenger said the investment in something that brings staffers together might not be such a bad idea.

"It's just like if you invite your team out to have drinks after work," he said. "You're spending it on enhanced morale and trust among your people."

Of course, not everyone could watch the game at work or get the day off.

Dalton Hayes, a student at Simpson College in Iowa, asked for a few hours off from his summer job teaching swim lessons at a local pool.

When his supervisor balked, Hayes said he quit on the spot and now has to move in with his parents for the rest of the summer. He said it was worth it.

"I was just thinking, 'I get to watch the game,'" Hayes said.


Associated Press reporters Brett Zongker, Josh Lederman, Carla K. Johnson and Joan Lowy and Sports Writer Schuyler Dixon contributed to this report.