Space jump becomes most-viewed streaming event ever

8 million people watched live as Felix Baumgartner jumped from the edge of space.


Chase Hoffberger


Published Oct 15, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 9:25 am CDT

It took a man free-falling from space to break the world record for “the live stream with the most concurrent views ever.”

Felix Baumgartner, the 43-year-old Austrian daredevil whose jump from the edge of the atmosphere in an effort to promote Red Bull’s energy drink had everybody clear across the planet in a tizzy, broke that record and more Sunday, becoming a worldwide trending topic on Twitter and setting a new precedent for all those who’ll eventually decide to record their descents from space.

Baumgartner dropped 128,100 feet from a platform somewhere above New Mexico (a record for the “Highest Jump from a Platform!”) and attracted more than 8 million live viewers on YouTube.

That broke the previous record for concurrent viewers of a single streamed event by roughly a million. In 2009, Barack Obama’s inauguration received 7 million streaming viewers, though most of those were not watching via YouTube. The previously held YouTube record was roughly 500,000 and occurred during the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics.

Baumgartner also set offline marks for the fastest free fall of all time—833.9 miles per hour—and longest free fall—119,846 feet—during his much-maligned-yet-still-increasingly-popular jump, which took five years to successfully orchestrate.

“It’s like swimming without touching the water,” Baumgartner said shortly after completing the fall—and probably hitting the bathroom. “It’s hard because every time it turns you around you have to figure out what to do. So I was sticking my arm out then it became worse.

“I didn’t feel like I was passing out. I thought, ‘I can handle the situation.’ And I did.”

Handle the situation, but, um, “arm,” Felix? We thought this whole stunt was put on by Red Bull. Weren’t you supposed to make mention of wings?

Photo via Red Bull/YouTube

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*First Published: Oct 15, 2012, 12:29 pm CDT