After last week’s news that YouTube is stepping into the online movie rental business, comes reports that live sport may soon become a viable part of their web offering as well. Rather unfairly, the LATimes told online readers over the weekend, “the good news for sports fans: YouTube will be showing a series of major matches, live, on the online site. The bad news: The sport is cricket.”
Now, having been unemployed during the Ashes a few years back, I developed a bit of a liking for the game (“live sport that runs for six hours and you’re expected to drink while watching it in the middle of the afternoon… sign me up”), so unlike critics across the Atlantic I’m among the thousands who are delighted to hear that YouTube’s owners, Google, have penned a deal with the India Premier League, to show all 60 matches of the Twenty20 cricket tournament that begins 12 March.
The Financial Times add that “Under its deal, Google is expected to offer IPL matches on YouTube with revenue stemming from advertising and sponsorship deals”. Google India brokered the groundbreaking two-year deal with Global Cricket Ventures, the licensing partner to the Indian Premier League. The deal marks a worldwide first in live streaming of any global sporting event where action is expected to reach half-a-billion viewers during the 45-day tournament.
Lalit Modi, chairman and commissioner of the IPL, told The Daily Telegraph: “This changes the world of sports broadcasting. The Internet has changed the lives of everyone and this will do the same for sport. We are now taking our event truly global for the first time. Google gives us access to 500 million pairs of eyes every single moment of the day.”