YouTube to stream IPL action
Lalit Modi - the face of the IPL (File)
Mumbai - Google announced on Wednesday its videosharing website YouTube will stream all Indian Premier League cricket matches live in a deal that highlights the Internet giant's broadcasting ambitions.
The third season of the lucrative IPL, which features the world's top players in eight teams owned by rich businessmen and Bollywood stars, will be held in March and April this year.
Under the terms of the agreement, Google will have exclusive online rights for IPL content for two years, and Google and IPL will jointly share revenues from sponsorship and advertising.
The deal is the first under which Google will stream a sports event live.
"We are excited, this will put India at the centre of a global experience," said Shailesh Rao, managing director of Google India.
"YouTube offers an open platform for sports and entertainment companies to take their content to a global audience and a great opportunity for advertisers."
Google and IPL officials declined to comment on finances of the deal.
"This unique initiative by IPL to partner Google India will give the league a global reach," Lalit Modi, chairperson of the IPL, said in a statement.
Contrasting with censorship and cyberattack disputes they face in China, Google officials are confident of business growth in India.
"YouTube in India is one of the fastest growing websites. India cannot be compared to China," Gautam Anand, YouTube's Asia Pacific director for content partnerships, said.
"India's most popular business platforms are entertainment and sports, which means Bollywood and cricket. This is where Google will strengthen its position further," Anand said.
Viewers will be able to customise their screens by altering camera angles, going behind-the-scenes and choosing when to watch interviews.
The IPL has been so popular that India's Bollywood cinema producers have been forced to delay release of their movies and theatres forced to cut down shows when the matches are being played.
Last year, the second season of IPL was moved to South Africa due to security concerns as tournament dates clashed with Indian general elections.