YouTube Hoping to Broadcast NBA & NHL Amongst Others

February 23, 2011

YouTube, under the ownership of Google Inc. since there US$1.65bn buyout in 2006, are reportedly in talks with major sporting leagues across North America and Europe, such as the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League, to show live games.

Google’s director of content partnerships for Asia Pacific, Gautam Anand revealed in an interview in Seoul yesterday, February 22, that YouTube aims to show more live sports in the second half of the year.

According to the head of YouTube Partnership at Google’s Korean unit, Brian Suh, Google is in talks with “most pro sports leagues” including NBA and NHL, as well as soccer leagues in Europe.

The company are hoping to build on the popularity of cricket’s Indian Premier League last year, with Anand stating: “One of the good things about IPL was that it really proved to a lot of sports leagues that broad-scale live- streaming type of exercise is something that’s possible. They took notice of IPL and have come to us, and entered into a lot more serious discussions.”

Adding live sports broadcasts may help YouTube expand revenue by keeping viewers on its site longer to woo more advertisers. YouTube’s contract to show cricket from the Indian Premier League, which gives the Google unit a share of ad revenue from games and the league’s website, brought in 55 million visits from more than 250 countries.

Anand added: “It’s fair to say that there will be a lot more appealing sports content you’ll see on YouTube. We have ongoing conversations with pretty much everyone.”

Although senior vice president for public relations at the NHL, Gary Meager, did not reply for comment, Michael Bass, senior vice president for marketing communications at the NBA, stated: “We’re pleased that YouTube recognizes the value of live sports.”