WCSN lands deals with AOL Video and YouTube

By Carolyn Braff

Having brokered licensing deals with dozens of international sporting federations, the World Championship Sports Network (WCSN) has turned domestic, announcing content agreements with online video giants YouTube and AOL Video. The young network specializing in Olympic and lifestyle sports has made available its library of footage from more than 60 disciplines, from snowboarding to wakeboarding, on a branded YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/wcsn and a similar portal on AOL video, http://video.aol.com/wcsn.

“As YouTube started to put channels of content together, we were fortunate enough to be in early with unique bite-sized chunks of content that they really liked,” says Carlos Silva, chief operating officer and president of WCSN. “We are one of the niche lifestyle clip aggregates that they really liked.” With more than 60 World Championships, 300 World Cups and 50 Grand Prix events being presented this year alone on WCSN.com, the network’s niche is becoming more of a storage closet.

WCSN’s unique coverage of sports ranging from badminton to beach volleyball will significantly expand the sports offerings on both YouTube and AOL Video. Clips specifically designed for internet distribution will be presented on both sites with the aim of drawing viewers to WCSN’s home site for live events.

“It boils down to being a fan of the live event,” Silva explained. “What will be on YouTube is really about highlights, world records and great moments, and that helps to drive people back and reminded them that there’s live track and field and beach volleyball over the weekend available on our site.”

The online video audience represents the next group of Internet users WCSN is hoping to attract. Die-hard fans already know that WCSN streams the world rowing championships, but the casual fan interested in watching Michael Phelps break a world record may not know where to turn. Syndicating branded content on social sites like YouTube and AOL video gets the word out to an audience that might otherwise be beyond WCSN’s reach.

“WCSN wants to be timely and relevant,” explains TK Gore, director of marketing and communications. “As world records are unfolding live on WCSN, we’re sharing them with our syndicated partners, they become instant water cooler talk and people out there are searching for them.”

Claude Ruibal, CEO and chairman of WCSN, says that given the vast number of hits YouTube receives daily, even if a small percentage of users click through the YouTube channel to WCSN.com, the deal has enormous potential to increase awareness and grow the WCSN brand.

“Ultimately, WCSN.com wins because of the awareness generated around us opening our arms,” Silva adds.