The Indian Premier League (IPL) has signed a two-year deal with YouTube, which will allow the Internet giant to stream 59 matches of the tournament, kicking off on Friday 12th March.
While rights holders, World Sports Group (WSG) and Sony Entertainment Television Asia are yet to sign a deal with a UK broadcaster, this news will be welcomed by avid cricket viewers.
It is currently unknown if the rights will be sold to a UK broadcaster or if the matches will be shown exclusively online. The IPL has been without a UK broadcaster since the demise of Setanta Sports last year. If the IPL finds a broadcaster in the UK, matches on YouTube will be delayed by a couple of minutes.
Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, told the Daily Telegraph, “We are in talks with all broadcasters in the UK but we would rather give it away free than let some of them make money out of us and the consumer. It is about broadening the fan base, after that everything follows.”
Revenue from advertising and sponsorship will be shared by Google and the IPL. Two years ago World Sports Group paid more than $1billion for the broadcast rights to the tournament.
In the new deal, viewers online will be able to choose their own camera positions, freeze or fast forward footage while also logging into chat rooms and having access to stats on the IPL۪s official website. There will also be an archive feature that will enable fans to replay their favourite pieces of action.
Modi added, “Also, if you fancy watching from the stump cam or from behind the bowlers arm then so be it because 20 different feeds will be available. The viewer will have the choice and not the television companies.”