In a move that could change the way sports are broadcast via the internet, YouTube will be streaming full coverage of the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament starting in just under five hours.
Internet search giant Google had secured full internet broadcast rights for all 60 Indian Premier League cricket matches spanning 43 days, streaming every minute of the action to audiences worldwide.
The Indian Premier League has fast become of the world’s most popular sports, showcasing the biggest cricket talent and huge cash prizes. Cricket players from all over the world seek permission from their domestic teams to enter an auction where 8 separate teams or “franchises” bid for their sporting services.
Visiting a designated URL, YouTube visitors will be able to watch nearly live coverage of the IPL from all over the world. US cricket fans will experience a one or two hour delay as most matches will be broadcast when the US population is sleeping.
It’s an interesting contrast from the NBC coverage of the Winter Olympics. NBC came under much scrutiny for the way they broadcast some of the winter events, deciding to not to display live online footage for fear of losing a prime time television audience.
YouTube, who don’t have a televisual following, will not have to worry about viewing conflicts, instead they are able to show nearly live sport in addition to post match highlights for those who missed it.
Whilst YouTube have secured full broadcast rights, they have also worked out advertising deals with 8 companies including HSBC, Coca-Cola, Samsung, Airtel and HP.
Adverts will not be shown during the coverage either; YouTube plans to feature some unique branding solutions including the branding of associated video content, branded YouTube pages and dedicated mastheads. Some companies are so impressed they have committed to advertising deals for the next season of the tournament too.
Youtube boasts an average of 1 billion viewers daily, around 400 million of them unique. Google will be watching intently to see how casual visitors respond to the IPL coverage, identifying whether people will be comfortable watching live sports on their favourite video site.
If it’s a success, you could see YouTube offering a lot more live sport. You can bet television networks will be keeping a close eye on proceedings.
[Source – WSJ]