YouTube To Stream Indian Premier League Cricket

The Indian Premier League (IPL) has signed a two-year deal with Google, giving YouTube the live-streaming rights to all 60 games of the 2010 IPL cricket season. This coverage will be free and is doubly significant as the first time that Google has streamed such an important international sporting event live.

The deal covers the world, excluding the U.S., where rebroadcast options will be available. In the UK, the rights were previously held by Setanta Sports, which went into administration last year.

The IPL says the dedicated YouTube feeds, www.youtube.com/IPL and www.iplt20.com, will give “boundary-less access to billions of fans across the world.” On-demand video, match highlights, player interviews, compilations of the top wickets and sixes of the match, and pitch reports will feature among the coverage.

This will appear as the liberating hand of technology to countless cricket fans frustrated by their sport’s being shown only on subscription broadcast channels. Within the TV sector, though, the fear is that the Internet will decrease the perceived value of sports rights, as has happened with recorded music and films.

Shailesh Rao, managing director of Google India and Media and Platforms for the Asia Pacific region, says, “We are thrilled to have the IPL as our global partner and bring to the YouTube community around the world and here in India an interactive, unique experience building greater awareness around the world for the sport.”

Adds IPL Chairman/Commissioner Lalit Modi, “This unique initiative by IPL to partner Google India will give the league a global reach on a single distribution platform. This will allow IPL fans anywhere in the world to view the action on-demand as per their convenience, thus making the new dedicated IPL channel on YouTube the biggest virtual stadium in the world.”